SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – It’s been one year since the pandemic shut down most travel. The loss of tourism cost cities like Springfield millions of dollars. There’s a new effort to attract visitors back to the city.

“The travel and tourism industry itself, hospitality, was one of the hardest hit,” said Megan Buchbinder, Director of Marketing for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Buchbiner said the pandemic has devastated local hotels, attractions and restaurants as they rely on people traveling and gathering, both of which were shut down for parts of 2020 because of the coronavirus. Now the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Springfield has a new promotion it hopes will help revive those industries this year by rewarding people who visit our city.It’s called the “One Night On Us” initiative.

Visitors have to stay two nights in a Springfield hotel and then visit local hot spots.

“They have to attend three different attractions and three different food and beverage places. If they do all of that during their trip, we’ll buy one of their nights in the hotel,” Buchbinder said.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is not encouraging any unnecessary travel for anyone who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“If you are going to travel, we do ask that you not travel if you’re sick and that you seek testing before and after leaving and returning to Springfield,” said Aaron Schekorra, public information specialist for the health department.

Visirors can limit exposure by driving to a destination instead of using buses, planes or trains.He says there are more lower-risk options.

“Participating in recreation in things that can be done in smaller groups or if you’re visiting friends and family rather than attending large events,”Shekorra said.

Buchbinder said, even though the pandemic was a problem for many business, she’s hoping the latest push will help restart their success.

“Thankfully I think we’ve seen a great spirit in Springfield over the last year of people really trying their best to support our local community and now it’s time that we can invite some visitors and open up our doors a little more safely,” she said.

The hotel reimbursement program will run until June. The Convention and Visitors Bureau will limit the promotion to 3,000 participants. Not every hotel, restaurant and attraction are taking part. You can see the list here.

The project and advertisements are being paid for through grants.

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