May 20, 2020
COVID Update #13
Lea Filson, Executive Director, See Plymouth
The guidance on our phases of reopening has finally arrived and it’s time to face the consequences of our COVID health and economic disaster. Let’s look at tourism, one of the hardest hit industries, and our #1 industry in the town and county of Plymouth. Please read the following carefully, and I will then tell you how these numbers directly affect each of you.
Here in Massachusetts, during CY 2020, we were set to welcome 30 million combined domestic and international visitors spending $26 billion which would have generated over $1.7 billion in state and local taxes. There are also 164,000 jobs supported by tourism spending in the Commonwealth. Domestic and international tourism is a $1.2 trillion industry in the U.S. supporting just under 10 million jobs.

Top travel experts around the country are forecasting a loss in travel spending of 40% or more in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Locally, here in Plymouth County, tourism spending in 2019 totaled $789,580,689 and supported 4,991 jobs. Those numbers have increased every year for the past ten years. In 2019, Plymouth County generated $39,998,105 state and $35,995,800 local tax revenues. 

If the 40% forecasted losses are accurate, Plymouth County will lose $315,832,276 in visitor spending, 1,996 jobs, and $15,999,242 in state and $14,398,320 in local tax revenues. Tourism related industries such as transportation, lodging, foodservice, retail, recreation and entertainment will suffer unprecedented losses. These numbers are after what we are all experiencing now due to COVID business closures.  

For Massachusetts, this results in a loss of $10.4 billion in spending, a loss of nearly $700 million in state and local taxes, and the disappearance of 43,000 jobs. Yet, tourism is not taken seriously as an economic development driver. We are about to find out what happens when these dollars don’t appear. 

Tourism returns huge dividends but takes constant care to promote our destination. We know our numbers will be very low for three quarters and maybe more, which means less funding from hotel taxes on both the local and state level. See Plymouth is working on every possibility of funding so that we can promote not only our 400th anniversary, but also continue to keep us top of mind while we compete with every other destination in the country.

How This Affects You
As all of you reopen in phases, See Plymouth is advertising and promoting in phases, using both earned media and advertising. What we know from the enormous amount of research our travel industry is doing is that we have to be strategic in order to bring our industry back if we want to do it in the next three to five years. If we don’t, it will take much longer. The quicker we can promote our destination and get visitors here, the quicker you will all be able to recover. In other words, we all have to work together.

Which circles back around to the health part of this unfortunate reality we are all experiencing...
In our first article,
we learn why some of us follow guidelines and
some of us don’t.
Boston Herald will offer advertising upfront at no charge if you will agree to pay for some future advertising with them. Or they can run a significant campaign at a steeply discounted rate.

Or if you want to run an ad only once or twice, they will give you $250 to run what you want…no strings attached.
For those interested in group business...

  • 43% of tour planners say they have rebooked some tours for later in 2020
  • 32% have rebooked for spring 2021
  • 25% are rebooking for summer 2021 or beyond
  • Almost half are continuing to book tours at destinations as normal
  • 22% are considering new destinations for future trips
  • Just under articles and itineraries about destinations and suppliers, travel safety information was a key request for what tour planners are interested in

Information from Paula Fisher, Director of Marketing and Group Services

(I am not endorsing this company,
but think it is the shape of things to come.)
As you work towards re-opening, the Massachusetts Lodging Association remains committed to assisting you in any way possible.

To that end, the MLA is an an active member of the International Society of Hotel Associations (ISHA), an association of lodging associations throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Working with ISHA and our counterpart at the California Hotel & Lodging Association, we are pleased to provide you with re-opening guidance for the hotel industry, as well as a recommended checklist for self-certification.
The goal of this program is to provide guidance to the industry and utilize this information for our advocacy with various government agencies.

These documents were created by the California Hotel & Lodging Association, and their President & CEO, Lynn Mohrfeld, was generous enough to share them with us so that we could share these recommendations with you.
For our hotel partners...
May 3 - 9, 2020
Occupancy 30.9
Percentage Change 56.7%
Down -6.1 or -12.1%
28-day Running OCC 31.8
Down -50.6%
Average Daily Rate $97.03
Percentage Change -20.09%
Down 2.3 points or -12.6%
28-day Running ADR $97.22
Down -18.6
RevPar 29.99
Percentage Change -65.8%
Down -6.0 or -10.0%
28-day Running RevPar 30.94
Down -59.8
Last, after all this thinking, you may want to do something for yourself. Did you know that planning a trip psychologically makes you as happy as being on a trip?
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