Marketing research company MMGY Travel Intelligence and nonprofit organization Destinations International Foundation recently released findings of a survey regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on North American destination organizations. The survey was conducted in two parts: March 4–8 and March 16–22. Employees of city, region and state destination organizations in North America completed the survey.
More than 80 percent of the destination organizations surveyed reduced or postponed sales and/or marketing spend in the last few weeks. More than 60 percent of these organizations asked employees to work from home. The majority of these organizations expect COVID-19 to continue to impact business over the next six months.
Almost 100 percent of destinations report postponements or cancellations of conferences, meetings or events due to COVID-19. Only 30 percent of destination organizations had a pandemic emergency plan in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation for our industry, and it’s important for destinations to make decisions based on facts and hard data as they begin to prepare recovery strategies,” said Craig Compagnone, chief operating officer, MMGY. “While there is no precedent for this situation, we know that travel has spiked following previous crises, and data will help influence how destinations keep travelers and communities informed until travel restrictions are eased and bookings return.”
The full report can be accessed on the MMGY Travel Intelligence website.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
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The 1985 song “One Night in Bangkok” mentions many of the overindulgences of this city. One of them is massage parlors. Today, however, a Thai massage is considered an activity that improves one’s physical and mental well-being. The city has shed its former reputation as a place of wild nightlife and decadence, over the past few decades emerging as a major center for international commerce, wellness initiatives and tourism.