Damaged hotels and convention centers in major U.S. cities are among the fallout from protests across the country that have turned violent. Many of the demonstrations began as peaceful gatherings organized to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died in the custody of the Minneapolis police.
Nationwide protests have been underway since May 26, the day after Floyd's death. Widely circulated video footage revealed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for an extended period of time while Floyd was handcuffed.
According to press reports, glass entrances to Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center buildings sustained damage, and there were also reports of smashed glass at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Also in Atlanta, the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center sustained extensive damage, with news outlets reporting that rocks were thrown at the property Friday night.
While both cities were still assessing the breadth of damage to their convention centers and downtown areas, press reports estimate the costs in the millions.
"These setbacks are tough for businesses already hard hit by the current pandemic," said William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. "However, we believe repairs can be made quickly and will not impact our ability to welcome conventioneers and visitors back to Atlanta later this summer."
Hotels in other cities have also sustained damage, according to NMG’s sister publication Travel Weekly. Among them are the Hay-Adams and Sofitel Washington D.C. Lafayette Square in the nation’s capital; Hotel Bennett in Charleston, S.C.; Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel in Sacramento, Calif., and The Langham Chicago.
"It’s understandable that America is hurting right now," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Our society is confronting the pain of injustice while addressing multiple other simultaneous challenges. How we collectively address these factors will shape the future of our country and how the world perceives us as a destination committed to getting it right.
"While the moment will come to encourage business and leisure travel once again," Dow continued, "we urge our political leaders to focus completely on the safety and well-being of all citizens and communities at this time."