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...