April 8, 2020

COVID-19 INDUSTRY UPDATE #6

Week two of our stay-at-home order seems like week ten. Learning Zoom has become an important part of continuing to do business. Watching spring begin to bloom on short walks makes us anxious to get on with our lives. No matter how you slice this, it is not an easy road.

Being online right now is a way to stay home together through meetings, social media, photos, and virtual reality tours. We have added some virtual tours to our website if you need to get away from all this for a while.

Our willingness to stay the course is what will define our country, states, cities, and towns. Our willingness to stay the course is what will keep our loved ones safe and alive. So, we all continue social distancing day after day because it’s the right thing to do.

Our staff continues to work remotely. Expect to hear from Georgia Stanley or Paula Fisher, who are busy contacting each of you to check in, let you know we continue to work for you and to ask you for a message for other members. We will be sharing that with you soon.

Our Finance Manager John Joyce is busy applying for the funding that applies to Destination Management Organizations. Claire MacPherson is bringing you this information as well as working on all our design needs and Tricia Ellis continues to update the website. You will soon see our Mini-Maps that Jack Girard has worked on. We are all anxious to see Jack open the Waterfront Visitor Center and Ted Curtin reopen the MA Visitor Center.

Tomorrow, we will hold our first Zoom PCDC Board meeting, as well as a DP Executive Board meeting. I will report back how that goes next week.

I continue to work with the MA Office of Travel and Tourism. We are hoping for an amendment from the legislature that will waive the matching funds we must raise to use our grant money. We also hope that we will get assurances that our usual grant amounts will be honored again in 2021.

As head of the Plymouth County Regional Tourism Council, I am actively working with the RTC marketing subcommittee presently crafting an ad campaign for the state. All the RTCs will coordinate local campaigns around it as we make decisions on when to begin doing a tourism campaign. I am also working with Plymouth 400 as new plans are made for the 400th anniversary. More on that later.

For this week’s update, I have included an article for restaurants about a free ServSafe food handling course that may help as you transition back to business. I have also included three graphs for hotels which show MA state levels in January and February occupancy, average daily rates, and revenue per available room values. I hope to have Plymouth County particulars by next week.

There are a few articles about tourism that are worth reading from a handful of publications, and as always, many links from the U.S. Travel Association with information that you will want to know about tourism and how it will recover.

The U.S. Travel Association is an important group to be affiliated with. It provides education, advice, lobbying efforts, and up to date news about the travel industry. As a member of See Plymouth, you have access to what it has to offer through our membership – yet another benefit of belonging.

Stay healthy,
Lea
SERVSAFE FREE FOOD HANDLING COURSE
TOURISM INDUSTRY ARTICLES

Phase 4, The Next Phase of Legislative Relief - April 7, 2020 - The Hill
States and Tourism - April 7, 2020 - Bloomberg
Tourism and Government Loans - April 3, 2020 - Orlando Sentinel
U.S. Travel Industry Losses - April 1, 2020 - Forbes
TRAVEL INDUSTRY UPDATES
FROM THE U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION

  • U.S. Travel Association (USTA) is continuing to work through the details of the CARES Act as more regulations become available and has posted several resources on their website. They continue to seek clarification and guidance on application processes and disbursement for CARES Act programs, not only with the small business areas but also as the rules are determined for the Exchange Stabilization Fund.

  • Together with AHLA, AAHOA and IFA, USTA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve last week requesting that they establish programs to provide immediate relief to travel-dependent organizations that do not qualify for other assistance under the Act, along with several potential ways to accomplish this goal. 

  • USTA and the aforementioned associations also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and SBA last week with a list of questions on the the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), loan forgiveness and other necessary guidance the travel industry needs with regard to provisions of the CARES Act. Late on Monday, the SBA, in consultation with Treasury, released an FAQ document on PPP that they plan to update periodically—but USTA is still pushing for guidance on other programs and relief options.

  • In addition, USTA has had numerous conversations with Congress and the White House outlining what needs to be included in a Phase 4 relief package to keep our industry afloat. At the top of the list is widening the scope of eligibility for the PPP to include 501(c)(6) organizations such as DMOs, as well as other DMOs that are structured as 501(c)(4) organizations or political subdivisions, in addition to other provisions that would benefit medium and large businesses and airports. USTA plans to fully formalize legislative requests and send them to Congress this week and will continue activating the industry in a grassroots effort to amplify our voice on Capitol Hill.

  • The numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday only emphasize the immediate need for relief for the travel industry. Employers reported a loss of 701,000 jobs in March, 65% of which were in the leisure and hospitality sector—the largest monthly decline this sector has ever seen. We know that this data does not yet paint a full picture of the losses our industry is currently experiencing, as over 10 million Americans had applied for unemployment benefits by the end of March. 
MA STATEWIDE LODGING DATA
U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION RESOURCES

The U.S. Travel Association's website hosts three major hubs of coronavirus information and resources for the travel industry:



See Plymouth Executive Director, Lea Filson
lea.filson@seeplymouth.com | direct line: 508.927.6603
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