May 2-8, 2021
Destination marketing organizations will play a key role in bringing vibrancy back to their communities. By inspiring responsible visitations, destinations can generate a collective impact that restores local economies, rebuilds workforces, and reconnects people. To celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week, here are ways destinations can unlock the power of travel.
Tourism will drive recoveries for communities across the country and define the path forward. Prior to the pandemic, tourism was a significant contributor to countless towns and cities—supporting people whose livelihoods relied on visitors. The pandemic ravaged millions of those hard-working people, resulting in the loss of six million travel-supported jobs. This number represents a 34% decrease compared to 2019. Devastating impacts like these proved how critical tourism is to the wellbeing of communities across the country.
Learn more about National Travel & Tourism Week.
Travelers’ behaviors and attitudes are going to ebb and flow. We worked with destinations through 9/11 and the ‘08 recession. These events caused a sudden decrease in travel similar to the pandemic. Those recoveries were steady once the disruptions were in the rearview mirror. However, COVID-19 is different. The virus could persist in hotspots around the world, and variants might cause future outbreaks. Scenarios like these could create variance in travel trends. People’s confidence in traveling will change with the rising and falling COVID-19 metrics.
Destinations must invest in destination intelligence tools that provide real-time traveler behavior data. Without a line of sight into the attitudes of travelers, destinations would be flying blind. They could potentially be creating campaigns that fall flat. For this reason, it’s vital for destinations to continually analyze travel data trends. This approach enables destinations to take advantage of opportunities and shift plans as things change.
All destinations should ground their strategies in responsible marketing to maximize the power of travel. Tactics grounded in respect for communities are not just the right thing to do, but are more effective. In addition to the pandemic, last summer also saw nationwide calls for social justice and equal protection under the law for all people. This spirit of equality and inclusiveness is vital in marketing. Travelers want to visit communities that align with their values. Destination must showcase their communities’ diversity. We work with partners to develop representative storytelling that demonstrates everyone can live, work, and play in their region.
Destinations should execute their campaigns in concert with their communities’ resources to protect from overtourism. For example, driving too many visitors into a destination could have a negative impact. Collaborating with key partners and stakeholders to monitor visitor data will ensure destinations are maintaining a healthy level of visitation and not overwhelming public spaces and services.
It’s also important for destinations to safeguard their community and promote healthy travel. Working with partners to amplify public health messages and connecting travelers with COVID-19 safety resources will ensure that when people visit they will do so in a safe manner that doesn’t negatively impact a destination.
Leading the Recovery
The pandemic turned tourism on its head. This National Travel & Tourism Week, destinations must commit to supporting their communities’ economic development. Tourism impacts so many people: visitors shopping at main street businesses boost the local economy, tourism-related revenue gives children a quality education and safe places to play, service industry workers put food on the table and give their family a place to call home, and so much more. We are working with partners across the country to do this by leveraging data-driven insights, using responsible marketing tactics, and cultivating sustainable tourism. Together, we can unlock the power of travel, generating a collective impact that ripples through communities for generations.