We are here for you! Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism has reformatted our Tourism Talk e-news to provide ongoing information. We have also added  tourism industry  resources  to Bellingham.org for access at anytime. We are here to help all our members navigate these uncertain times. 
Travel Industry Business Resources
April 16, 1 p.m. FREE Local Webinar: Understanding and Accessing Financial Resources for Small Businesses

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce are co-presenting a free webinar to assist our members.
Join CJ Seitz, WWU Small Business Development Center director, to learn more about resources related to the loss of business due to COVID-19.
If you have specific questions please email by April 13:
Sandy Ward at sandy@bellingham.org OR Guy Occhiogrosso at guy@bellingham.com

Friday, April 10:
SBA Disaster Loans & CARES Act
Host:  Washington Small Business Development Centers

Monday, April 13:  Business Survival Strategies 
Time:  11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Host: Highline College Small Business Development Center

Wednesday, April 15:
SBA Disaster Loans & CARES Act 
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Host:  Washington Small Business Development Centers

Friday, April 17:
SBA Disaster Loans & CARES Act Webinar
Time:  3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Host: Washington Small Business Development Centers
American Traveler Sentiment
As we settle into our lives at home, so many of our local members are wondering how long will this  last? And will travelers return when it's over? Although we do not have a crystal ball, we have been tracking multiple sources of information and several nationwide studies of American traveler sentiment as it relates to the current health crisis and their future travel plans.  Here are the most recent results:

A study by Longwoods International and Miles Media shows:
  • 84% of American travelers have changed their travel plans for the next 6 months
  • Only 65% of American travelers are still planning trips in the next 6 months, compared to 87% one week ago.
A weekly study by Destinations Analysts is tracked in the graphs below, which shows the difference in responses each week. The current study shows:
  • The percent of American Travelers who feel the coronavirus situation will get worse in the U.S. next month has grown to 70.3% (from 66.5% a week ago). 
  • Those confident that coronavirus will be resolved by the summer travel season plummeted to 31.0%.
  • 53.1% of American travelers say they expect they will be traveling in the Fall. The percent who say they have trip plans in September and later in 2020 have ticked up.
  • After the pandemic, half of American travelers say they will avoid crowded destinations (49.8%). 
  • 72.8% of American Travelers have had trips affected by COVID-19

Seattle Times Sources
These articles provide even more insight into the strategy for flattening the curve:

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to just about anywhere outside the United States," and even some domestic travel. 

"But the improved outlook is contingent on maintaining strict social-distancing measures, including closure of schools and nonessential businesses, at least through the end of May"

Local Whatcom County Updates

At the April 7 County Council meeting, the  Whatcom County Health Department presented a proclamation in support of National Public Health Week to the Whatcom County Council. The Council, in turn, passed a resolution proclaiming the week of April 6 - 12, 2020, as National Public Health Week in  Whatcom County, Washington.

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation.

Hotel owners across Washington may have an opportunity to help their communities and fill empty rooms, thanks to a $30-million state emergency housing grant from the state  Department of CommerceThe funds are available to local governments and non-profit organizations in communities - not directly to the private businesses. Communities will work with hotel owners to provide necessary rooms and services for alternative care sites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food bank home delivery is now available for individuals and families who can not afford to purchase food, and are unable to access food bank pick up sites. This program is a partnership between  Whatcom Unified Command, the  Opportunity Council and  The Volunteer Center of Whatcom CountyTo qualify, individuals and households must be unable to access food bank pick up sites due to a lack of transportation or be in a high-risk category.
Western Washington  University

WWU has two important ways to stay connected with the community during the Stay Home Stay Safe Order, including a new Coronavirus Web Page.  This website provides information and serves as Western's central hub of coronavirus resources and Frequently Asked Questions.  www.wwu.edu/coronavirus

Western Today is a daily e-newsletter that provides up-to-date news and information. You can sign up for daily alerts  here.

The city of Bellingham government is open for business, even when its physical locations are closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As most community members "stay home and stay healthy,"  City of Bellingham personnel continue to provide services that are essential to the community.

The third  2020 Cannabis Solutions store in  Bellingham reopened Friday, April 3 after implementing protocols to improve the safety of guests and team members.  The store at 2018 Iron St. in downtown Bellingham opened for the first time since closing the evening of March 18 due to coronavirus concerns. The stores at 4770 Pacific Highway (near the Interstate 5/Slater Road interchange), and 5655 Guide Meridian, several miles north of Bellingham, reopened March 23.

Bellingham  Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced the  City of Bellingham  has closed on the purchase of a beautiful 29-acre property located in the Bakerview/Telegraph corridor, north of I-5 and east of Meridian. This important City property acquisition was made with $2,310,000 in Greenway levy funds. This fast-growing part of the City has been a high priority for the acquisition of land for a new neighborhood park and public trails for several years. This particular property is located along two arterials on the northside, providing critical connectivity to existing and future trails and nearby park property, as well as ample area for a park and wooded trail.

The Bellingham Farmers Market will be opening for the season on  Saturday, April 11, 2020. Farmers Markets are listed as essential businesses, just like grocery stores, under the Governor's Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order. The Farmers Market is a critical link in our food system and an essential way residents can get groceries and support our local  Whatcom County farms.

In accordance with recent Washington State prohibitions regarding in-person attendance at public meetings, the Bellingham City Council will conduct its first remote meeting on Monday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m.. There will be no committee meetings in the afternoon. The agenda packet for the meeting can be found online. 
Local Scenes of Inspiration
Semiahmoo Supports Its Local Senior Community

As we all navigate this challenging time, Semiahmoo Resort, Golf & Spa is committed to supporting the health of their local community. During the week of March 23, the resort donated gloves and facemasks to Highgate Senior Living (a premier senior living facility located in Bellingham) to support the community's plea for help. Below are the details: 
Semiahmoo Resort donated:
  • 50 boxes of gloves
  • 10 boxes of masks
The gloves and masks were previously used by the Semiahmoo kitchen, housekeeping and engineering teams.

It has never been a more important to support one another and give back than during this uncertain time.

Whatcom Arts Project
Whatcom Arts Project

Western Washington University head women's basketball coach Carmen Dolfo has been recognized by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as part of the 2020 Victory Club. Dolfo was among a select list of recipients honored for achieving a milestone coaching victory during the 2019-20 season. On January 11, the Bellingham Vikings defeated Seattle Pacific University 73-60 for the 600th victory in Dolfo's 29-year head coaching career, all at Western.
Photo Contest

March & April 2020
Whatcom County is a great place to play! Take some photos enjoying the many activities and scenic spots all around the county and enter them in our latest contest for a chance at a prize! Yes, members can enter. Members can also donate prizes. Enter here

Questions? We are happy to answer them for you.
Give us a call at 360-671-3990,  email us or visit our website at  bellingham.org .
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229