In an effort to increase both tourism and business in Murray, the construction of a SpringHill Suites by Marriott Hotels has been announced by entrepreneur Priyesh Nathu and Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism Commissioner Mike Mangeot.
Scheduled to be completed and join Murray’s other seven hotels by January 2015, SpringHill Suites will be the largest hotel in Murray and include 87 suites, a restaurant and cafe, feature a 2,000 square-foot convention space and will bring 35 jobs to Murray.
Nathu, board member of the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau and owner of the Holiday Inn Express on U.S. Highway 641 N, next to which the SpringHill Suite will be located, spearheaded this venture and had been in contact with Marriott Hotels for several years.
Generating almost $12.2 billion last year, Mangeot said travel and tourism are Kentucky’s third largest industry. He said the new hotel will serve to bolster all of Calloway County’s economy and to develop its attractiveness to tourists.
“Everything is on the upswing here in Murray,” Mangeot said. “This is a tremendous asset and addition to the community,” Mangeot said.
Jim Carter, president of the board of directors for the Murray CVB, also attended the unveiling.
Carter said there has been a need for additional hotels lodging for tourists in Murray for some time, a need he said has grown apparent in the past few years as Murray has experienced an influx of tourists.
Carter attributed this growth in demand for a new hotel primarily to the recent success of Murray State’s men’s basketball program, but also to several key events held in Murray in the past year such as the Kentucky Senior Games.
Erin Carrico, executive director of the Murray CVB, echoed the need and demand in Murray for more space for tourists to stay.
“Murray is in a great growing pattern right now, but we’re in between a rock and a hard place,” she said. “There are several times in the year – basketball season, Homecoming, in the summer during tournament time – that we just don’t have enough hotel rooms to go around, which is a great problem to have, unless you don’t have that other hotel.”
Carrico said Calloway County observed a 6.2 percent increase in tourism expenditures between 2011 and 2012 and that 2012 in particular was a record year for Murray tourism, bringing $71.9 million to the community.
“Adding an additional 87 rooms will really help us,” she said. “With 87 more rooms with an average of two people per room – that’s almost 200 people who can now attend Homecoming and stay in Murray, eat in our restaurants and shop at our stores.”
Carrico predicts with the completion of the Marriott SpringHill Suites, Murray could see another 5 to 6 percent increase in tourism.
Said Carrico: “For a while, (Murray) had some growing pains, but now we’re taking a step forward and the first step is to creat another hotel here.”
Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor