Are you thinking of taking a vacation this year? Think again – coronavirus has derailed any potential plans for a summer trip. With the way things are going, it’s unclear if we’ll even be able to take a winter trip to see our families for the holidays.
Right now, the CDC’s travel advisory map shows nearly the whole world as high-risk areas. That means any recreational trips are pretty much out of the question right now.
With that in mind, how are tourist towns across the nation coping with this crisis? Will tourism and travel kick back up once the pandemic ends, or will this pandemic change the tourism industry forever? Read on to hear how three different cities are responding and what experts think post-pandemic travel will look like.
Covid-19 and Tourism: The Impacts
In the early days of 2020, most of us were still worried about keeping our new year’s resolutions. China, on the other hand, was already knee-deep into a developing crisis. They’d already started identifying patients with a strange new virus, and the world was watching.
Within a few weeks, other governments began responding. What was the first thing our government decided to do? We decided to immediately put a travel ban into place to curb the spread. When that didn’t work, we turned to more drastic measures like ordering people to stay at home.
Only a handful of states, six to be exact, never issued any state-wide stay at home order. Among those select few states, only one state (South Dakota) never closed any businesses. Every other area decided to close businesses and enforce various restrictions. Among those restrictions are several travel advisories. Many states are requiring anyone who went out of state to self-quarantine for up to 14 days after returning home.
All of these factors had an immediate impact on tourism around the nation. Small businesses, especially in hard-hit areas like New York, have been consumed by pandemic-induced closures. On top of that, citizens who aren’t free to travel as they wish won’t be taking many vacations. Below, we’ll look at three different major tourist areas and how they’ve fared during this crisis.
Case Study: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
According to the tourism director for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 2020 has been the worst economic year in history. As a result of the changes, $200 million in revenue was lost in one city alone. The director said that tourism was slashed by over 80%.
Case Study: Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is an attractive tourist destination, but some of its most popular attractions, like casinos, have been forced closed during this crisis. As a result, the state’s entire economy has taken a massive hit. Reports suggest that tourism was down 71% in June.
The short- and long-term impacts will include massive unemployment and a worsening financial situation. One Las Vegas economist, Jeremy Aguero, believes a full recovery could take anywhere between 18-36 months. That statistic isn’t too promising considering a second lockdown could happen in the future.
Case Study: Miami Beach, Florida
The sunshine state is well-known for it’s booming tourism industry. In 2018, the state raked in over $90 billion from tourism alone! Everything has changed since coronavirus struck, though. Experts say 60% fewer visitors came to Florida in April, May, and June. That’s a total of 20 million tourists who stayed at home.
The state expects to see $1.6 billion less in tax revenue as a result. Even if restrictions lifted tomorrow, it could take years to bounce back.
What Will Post-Pandemic Tourism Look Like?
The impacts of Covid-19 on small businesses is apparent – thousands have been forced to close their doors for good. Others are barely scraping by due to a lack of customers and an inability to operate like normal. Only small businesses who have successfully pivoted their operations to suit the ‘new normal’ have survived. But, for how long?
What will post-pandemic tourism look like? Experts are conflicted, but a good amount of them think it will never be the same. New health security measures are likely here to stay, which means the tourism industry must adapt. Even if a coronavirus vaccine gets produced quickly, the economic impacts of the pandemic will haunt us for years to come.