The city’s leisure and hospitality industry continues to suffer due to a severe decline in travel caused by social distancing practices in place to prevent virus spread.

For April 5-11, hotel occupancy was at 21.2 percent, a decrease of 66.9 percent over the same period last year. Average daily rate was at $56.59, down 31.4 percent; there were 9,165 occupied rooms, a decrease of 65.6 percent; and room revenue was at $547,091, a decrease of 76.4 percent.

It’s a bleak situation that will remain so for some time to come. The good news is I don’t think it will get much worse, if any.

There is, in fact, truly good news to share about the local travel industry. I’m pleased to announce the National Christian HomeSchool Basketball Association extended its contract an additional three years.

That means the city’s largest annual group event will continue taking place in Springfield through at least 2025, pumping about $4.5 million into the local economy each year. More than 350 teams, 3,500 basketball players and up to 10,000 people attend the games and have done so since it moved here in 2009.

All those people will be a welcome sight in Springfield next March as they fill the city’s hotels, restaurants, attractions and retailers.

It’s nice to know that Tim Flatt, the event organizer, likes the city and has confidence in the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Sports Commission, especially after the event had to cancel last month due to the restrictions on group gatherings put in place to help stop the coronavirus from spreading.

Tim has been great to work with and his willingness to extend the event’s contract was a bright spot in otherwise dire circumstances.