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Large gatherings at Lanier Islands resort have gloomy 2021 outlook, COO says
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Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands Wednesday, March 25, 2020. - photo by Scott Rogers

Large gatherings, such as conventions, may not happen at Lanier Islands in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on business at the South Hall resort, Chief Operations Officer Grier Todd said Friday.

“We still don’t see the group business coming back yet, even at the end of the year,” Todd said, speaking at the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority Board meeting on Friday, Feb. 19. “What we’re seeing is the groups that have booked, especially the larger groups of 150 people or more, are rescheduling or canceling.”

The resort “is getting some smaller group business — 10, 15 or 20 people,” he said.

Large group meetings are a resort staple, so much that the Lanier Islands is planning a new $155 million hotel and convention center.

The resort now has 20,000 square feet of meeting space, spokeswoman Missy Burgess told The Times after the meeting. She added that large group meetings dropped by 78% between 2019 and 2020.

“2020 — we’re so glad it’s gone,” Todd told board members. “It was a struggle. We got through it and hopefully we’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

A solid performance in December recreation numbers at the islands, such as Snow Island, “really helped us because we didn’t have the first Christmas party this year,” he said. “And normally, every weekend in December is booked up with Christmas parties.”

Despite the gloomy news, Todd tried to remain upbeat.

“Hopefully, with the vaccine and herd immunity, we can get to a point where we can get back to some semblance” of normalcy, he said.

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