INDIANAPOLIS — Tourism and hospitality is booming this year compared to last. Indianapolis has welcomed several major sporting events like the Final Four, Big Ten Championship and more that's kept hotels afloat.
As COVID surges again, the city is now gearing up for the highly anticipated College Football National Championship game in January.
"2021 was still a pretty challenging year. When you look back at it, we were about 60% of the occupancy that we would have had in 2019," said Anne Dunlavy with the J.W. Marriott. "Tourism is such a big part of our downtown, our vitality in the city, and we obviously are really excited to see big groups come back."
Dunlavy says there's no better way to kick off 2022 than with the Championship.
The city is expecting tens of thousands of people for the championship game.
Dunlavy says teams have visited the hotel in advance and hotel staff members will wear masks and accommodate any COVID restrictions that teams want to put in place.
"They are going to take all the proper safety measures and we will follow their recommendations. We will work close with the teams and make sure everyone is safe regardless of the situation," said Dunlavy.
As the omicron variant spreads, there's a chance the game could be postponed or canceled.
A spokesperson says the January 10 game could be rescheduled as late as January 14 if there is a COVID outbreak among the teams. a team could even win the championship title by forfeit.
Two bowl games played on New Year's Eve will decide who plays for the national championship in Indy.
Right now, hotel rooms for the game aren't sold out. If the game is postponed or canceled, Dunlavy says they're working out a plan for those who booked a room.