March 18, 2020


Yesterday afternoon hotel executives from Marriott, Hilton, MGM, IHG and others met with President Trump to report on the dire situation impacting the tourism industry. Each executive reported a similar story – single digit occupancy, mass layoffs, and an unprecedented threat to fiscal and operational survival. MGM CEO James Murren announced that all properties would close effective today, March 18, 2020, and Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said that hotels in major cities would soon be closing their doors.
Also yesterday, U.S. Travel released an updated analysis in conjunction with Tourism Economics, that paints a horrific picture. By the end June, the travel industry in the United States will lose 4.6 million jobs and $355 billion in revenue, for a total loss of $809 billion in economic output.

Of course, we are feeling it acutely here as well. The Regional Tourism Councils are all working together to create next steps for a campaign to promote tourism across the Commonwealth once we see that the virus is contained.

For small businesses confronted by this existential crisis, Keiko Orrall and the MA Office of Travel & Tourism shared some important resources this week. She shared information for assistance as we weather this, including a Small Business Recovery Loan Fund, a $10 million fund that will be administered by the Massachusetts Growth Corporation (MGCC). The Fund will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to MA businesses impacted by COVID-19 that have less than 50 full-time and part-time employees. No payments will be due for 6 months. The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program will offer businesses access to up to $2M in emergency loan capital with rates capped at 3.75%. Businesses can learn more about the SBA’s response to COVID-19 here.
Also worth looking at is the Commonwealth’s WorkShare and Rapid Response program.

NBC has added Prime-Time newscasts across the country. Expect to see others follow with additional 30-minute newscasts each evening. 

Destination Plymouth board member Rob Kluin, from Plimoth Plantation sent this link
around today that impresses upon all of us the need for marketing at a time like this.

Destination Plymouth board president Kevin Martin, with Best Western Cold Springs sent this from U.S. Travel Association:


Dear Travel Colleague,

While the health of Americans is of utmost importance, Congress must also protect the businesses and jobs affected by the coronavirus outbreak—which is having an unprecedented impact on the U.S. travel industry and the broader economy.

In times like these, it is important for Congress to hear from their constituents about the impact a decline in travel is having on local workers and businesses. Your outreach is critical to U.S. Travel's advocacy efforts that will inform policymaking and inspire congressional action.

Please use this action alert to send a message directly to your senators and representatives with specific examples of how you, your colleagues or employees and your business are being affected.

Within the action alert, we also provide detailed policy solutions that will help address the health of the U.S. economy, the small businesses that make up 83% of all U.S. travel employers, and the 15.8 million travel-supported jobs.
Your voice is more important now than ever. In the coming weeks will we continue looking to you for support in our advocacy efforts.

If you have any questions or comments regarding coronavirus and our industry, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Tori Emerson Barnes
Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy
U.S. Travel Association
Here at See Plymouth, we have closed our office through April 1 and perhaps beyond. Everyone is working remotely. The MA Visitor Center at Route 3 Exit 5 was closed last Friday. 

Meantime, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) has granted permission to all RTCs to go over the percentage allowed in their state grants for salaries and operations.

I will continue to stay in touch as we experience the COVID-19 daily changes and aftermath. Please be healthy and safe and remember that we will see this through together.
See Plymouth Executive Director, Lea Filson | direct line: 508.927.6603
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