Golf courses and food trucks have recovered from pandemic drops, while bowling hasn't

By Christina Estes
Published: Friday, January 19, 2024 - 11:03am

Annika Cline/KJZZ
Barbara Marshall bowling in a summer league at Let it Roll Bowl in Phoenix.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released new data on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on recreation and social activities.

When indoor recreation and social activities took a hit, so did bowling centers and bars. Nationwide, bowling center revenue remained below pre-pandemic levels in 2021 while bars, lounges and nightclubs had fully recovered.

Amusement and theme park revenues plummeted more than 60%. By 2021, industry revenue was nearly 12% lower than pre-pandemic.

Meanwhile, some outdoor-based industries exceeded pre-pandemic numbers: Revenue from golf courses and country clubs was 17% higher, while mobile food services — like trucks, carts and stands — shot up 67% between 2019 and 2021.

According to the Outdoor Participation Trends Report from the Outdoor Industry Association, 164.2 million Americans participated in an outdoor activity in 2020, a 6.9% increase from 2019.

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