Usually a hub of tourist activity, Williamsburg faced economic troubles this summer. According to the Virginia Gazette, hotel occupancy was down from last year’s rate of 78.8 percent to 69.4 percent in July. Numbers have not been this low since July of 2004.
“I can’t remember July occupancy being below 70 percent, or our year-to-date rate after July being 45 percent,” Doug Pons, operator of the Quarterpath Inn, said.
Officials blame high gas prices and the slow economy for this year’s tourist slump. Many business owners are turning their attention to 2009, abandoning their hopes of making any more significant profits in what is left of 2008.
While most Williamsburg businesses have suffered, one could not recover from the slow summer. The owner of the Colonial Inn on Capital Landing closed the business due to occupancy rates 25 percent below normal. If 2009 is not more profitable, many more Williamsburg restaurants and hotels could be forced to shut down.