COVID-19 Uncertainty Reveals Tourism Industry’s Vulnerability

Royalton Blue Waters Beach, Montego Bay, JA

COVID-19 packs a dreadful punch on a number of levels.

The respiratory virus has led to emergency lockdowns that have left the global economy in free-fall. And travel bans have decimated the hospitality and tourism industry.

Initially, the messaging from the hospitality industry has recognized the value in reminding everyone to stay home, to regularly wash their hands and practice good respiratory hygiene.

When travel bans are finally lifted and people are ready to vacation abroad again, hotel brands will need to promote their properties with considerable sensitivity. They will want to remind us of what we once enjoyed about travel and our favorite destinations.

In the hospitality and tourism industry, staff regularly show empathy toward customers. Now, more than ever, hotel and tourism brands need to express genuine concern both toward and for the well-being of staff, guests, neighbors and the wider community.

Instead of a message of wish you were here, the hospitality and tourism industry needs to convey a different message: Thinking of you.

Many hotel and tourism organizations are already finding new ways to engage with, or entertain, people sheltering in place. Some properties are demonstrating concern for neighbors and community. While others are making efforts to care for the well-being of their staff.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, management at Sunset at the Palms in Negril, Jamaica, expressed concern for staff and provided 115 laid-off employees with food packages and money. Staff and management are also connected through a WhatsApp group.

The all-inclusive announced its temporary closure around March 20th. At that time, management floated a plan to reopen on April 17th. That date has  since become a moving target.

First, the date for reopening changed to May 1st. But air and sea ports remained closed past May 31st. The latest update? Management now plans to accept new arrivals on July 1st.

Royalton resorts temporarily closed The Royalton Blue Waters on March 25, 2020 to protect guests and staff. At the time, they were unable to confirm a re-opening date.

I wrote about the destination wedding I attended at that all-inclusive in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in an earlier post. Unfortunately, I never read word of any food or monetary gifts being extended to laid-off employees.

Luxury properties like the Hari Hotel in Belgravia, London are doing their bit to make the lockdown a little less stressful for others. Neighbors looking for help with shopping and errands can contact for  assistance.

The Four Seasons New York is working to find housing for the valiant doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who are treating COVID-19 patients.

The Greece from Home website  promotes Greek tourism with images of Greek archeology, museums, walking tours and cuisine to inspire site visitors to dream and explore the country’s offerings, the safe and digital way, until “we’re able to meet again.”

Copyright 2021