NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to celebrate the many contributions of our industry to the nation’s overall wellbeing. You may wonder what there is to celebrate this year considering the devastation that we have suffered over the last two months. The U.S. Travel Association reports that more than 5.9 million travel-related jobs are projected to be lost by the end of April and travel-related economic output is expected to drop $910 billion this year. And while Minnesota’s March 2020 unemployment rate was 3.1%, April figures are expected to catapult past 10%. No doubt, we are no more than one degree of separation away from a person or persons who have been impacted by COVID-19. But I would emphatically say that celebration of our industry is warranted as we see the ways our public and private partners are responding.
Adapt and Advance
Greek philosopher, Plato once said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In other words, when we have limited options, we must get creative. And we have seen that creativity in our local businesses like restaurants, craft breweries, hotels, and retailers that have adapted to doing business remotely or curbside. Check out our website for all the details.
On a national scale, big box retailers have quickly adapted their supply chain management practices to ensure that store shelves are appropriately stocked, as they limit purchase quantities on some of the most popular items. Paper products are no longer a scarcity. Thanks to hometown Fortune 500 corporation Target for its leadership in this area.
On a destination marketing level, Meet Minneapolis has joined Catch Des Moines, Visit KC, Experience Sioux Falls and Visit Omaha, during NTTW, to rally around each other’s virtual experiences with links to one another’s websites and social media promotion. Each of these communities would typically be touting their own attributes as we approach the busy summer driving season. Instead, in a show of Midwest solidarity in the tourism industry, Meet Minneapolis has joined forces with these other communities.
We cannot forget the adaptation being made in individual homes in Minneapolis and across this state and country where parents have become school counselors, curriculum planners and educators. This is in addition to the robust list of duties parents already undertake. A number of our Meet Minneapolis team members are among those who have made these personal life adaptations and we salute them all.
We’ll be Ready
While our downtown doesn’t have the throngs of daily office workers and visitors that it would typically have during this time of the year, businesses are busily getting ready for their return. Downtown Improvement District Ambassadors are back on the streets of downtown keeping our central business district clean, green and safe. Our streets and sidewalks will be ready for the bustling outdoor dining our downtown is known for. Hotels are using this down time to initiate or complete a variety of upgrades and renovations. Several hotels under construction forge ahead even in a time of uncertainty. And our Minneapolis Convention Center will soon be able to showcase its new tile floors throughout the entire building. There is a strong sense that when the time is right, we must be ready to welcome locals and visitors alike back to town. “It’s only a matter of time before we all get moving again, and this industry will be more ready than ever to welcome travelers with open arms” according to U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.
If you’re going through Hell, Keep Going!
This quote has been attributed to Winston Churchill, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II and again from 1951 to 1955. If you’re in the midst of adversity, you don’t want to stay there in the middle of it. You want to get out of it. The future may seem murky and uncertain for our industry. We must face revenue shortfalls, layoffs, and other real-life challenges head-on. But we have invested heavily as an industry and as individual travel and tourism professionals. That investment has built a strong enough foundation for us to come back strong. We must remain absolutely committed to helping our industry get back on its feet.
And this is a reminder that during this crisis Meet Minneapolis has been working to support the hospitality community and local businesses, as well as lifting the local community throughout the say-at-home period with its Experience Minneapolis From Home offerings. Along with these efforts, Meet Minneapolis continues to prepare for the return of travel by promoting and selling the city for future conventions, meetings and sporting events.
Please join together with us as we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week!