COVID-19 Industry Update
August 7, 2020
Somehow, it’s already August.
Summer season is winding down, back-to-school decisions are being made and our destination is bracing for its slowest three months of the year---September through November.
With that in mind, alongside Florida’s continued struggles with COVID-19, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is putting the final touches on a Visiting Safely & Responsibly campaign.
The challenge is real. The majority of Americans and Floridians don’t want to travel right now regardless of what deal or message is put before them. And those who are thinking about packing their bags want to know what the hotel, attraction, restaurant and destination are doing to keep them safe.
Which is where you come in. The success of campaign efforts will depend on the help of all of our stakeholders to embrace the message and help amplify St. Pete/Clearwater’s seriousness about allowing locals, visitors and prospective visitors to have a safe and positive experience in our destination.
In the next couple weeks, we’ll host a destination-wide webinar rolling out the initiative and specifically ask businesses what items (posters, buttons, hand sanitizer, table clings, etc.) we can produce and deliver. We’ll also be implementing a media plan to increase the reach of the campaign.
Thank you to our chamber partners and municipalities who have been instrumental in building the campaign.
Meanwhile, we continue to run a number of highly targeted digital marketing tactics that are reaching those actively looking to travel.
Stay tuned for more!
NEW GOVERNOR ORDER REQUIRES EMPLOYEE SCREENING, NOT TESTING; TRI-STATE AREA TRAVELER QUARANTINE LIFTED
The Governor’s office has issued Executive Order 20-192 requiring restaurant owners and managers to screen employees per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for restaurants and bars. The recommendation for partners is to conduct daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening and/or or symptom checking) of staff safely, respectfully and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. Consider using examples of screening methods in CDC’s General Business FAQs as a guide. The order also rescinded a 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers to Florida from the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
PINELLAS COUNTY LAUNCHES TWO NEW COVID RELIEF PROGRAMS
Pinellas County launched two new COVID-19 relief programs recently. The nonprofit fund allots $29.7 million for nonprofit organizations in Pinellas County. The application can be found here. The other program is the Pinellas CARES Child Care Provider Grant, which is a partnership between Pinellas County and the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County (ELC) alloting $4.6 million for child care organizations in Pinellas County. The ELC will contact all eligible providers with application instructions via email.
PINELLAS COUNTY FACE COVERING ORDINANCE REMAINS IN EFFECT
LATIN AMERICA TEAM PROMOTES BRAND USA DISCOVERY PROGRAM
VSPC’s Latin America team promoted the destination’s new Brand USA Discovery Program in two live webinars reaching the Brazilian and Mexican markets in July. The webinars promoted the travel agent training program to become a “St. Pete/Clearwater” destination specialist. In total, 169 travel agents were trained.
TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT LAUNCHES NEW NONSTOP ROUTES & WEB PAGE
Not only is Tampa International Airport (TPA) launching several new nonstop routes in the near future, its also created a new nonstop routes web page. JetBlue is launching two new nonstop flights to New York City (LGA) and Philadelphia (PHL) with twice weekly service. PHL begins Aug. 7 with LGA starting Oct. 1. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines announced beginning Nov. 20 it will offer daily nonstop flights between Tampa and Los Angeles and twice-weekly service to San Francisco.
ALLEGIANT FAIRS BEST OF ANY U.S. MAJOR CARRIER, BUT REPORTS DECLINES
Allegiant reported a net loss of $95 million for second quarter on revenue that dropped by 73 percent---the lowest revenue drop of any U.S. major carrier to date. But the airline reports demand is declining again and it might have to make major changes to its capacity plan for the fall. “The second quarter proved to be the most turbulent quarter in the history of the industry,” said Maury Gallagher chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. “As the virus spread throughout the country in March and April, the industry saw an unprecedented plummet in demand, followed by significant capacity cuts, upwards of 80 to 90 percent. As cases subsided, demand began trickling back in, only to begin recessing again with the uptick in cases beginning late June.”
TOUR OPERATOR TUI CLOSES 166 STORES IN UK, IRELAND
Tour operator giant TUI is closing 166 stores in the UK and Ireland. Its plan is to shift hundreds of affected staff to home-based operations in sales and service roles. Tui will continue with 350 stores in Main Street areas.
FORWARD PINELLAS, ST. PETE, STATE LAUNCH MOBILITY STUDY
A recently launched study is seeking input from residents, employees and visitors about how they move around downtown St. Pete, their biggest downtown transportation concern and how people prefer to provide input on the topic moving forward. The study is being conducted by Forward Pinellas, St. Pete and the Florida Department of Transportation. Take the survey here before it closes on Aug. 7.
CLEARWATER SEEKS ARTISTS FOR MURALS
Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency and Public Art & Design Program has launched a call to artists for six new mural locations in Downtown Clearwater. This is phase two of its mural program and aims to enliven public spaces and highlight downtown’s emerging arts scene, which is found on this new virtual art map. Artists, muralists, individuals or groups from the region, state or globally are welcome to apply. Applications are due by Sept. 1.
BUSINESS TRAVEL CHANGES MOVING FORWARD
A new survey released by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) shows more than half of travel buyers report their company has changed its travel policy and 75% of those respondents say the policy change will curtail most travel. Instituting new rules about pre-trip approval and having more frequent or detailed pre-trip communications or briefings were the top responses when asked what travel program changes have been made due to the pandemic.