How should tourism and hospitality entities respond to Coronavirus?
For many cities across the country, the summer and winter months mark their peak tourism seasons. But for Greater Phoenix, our peak season occurs each spring, thanks in great part to Cactus League Spring Training and our (mostly) sunny, temperate weather. Restaurants, hotels and small, independent businesses rely on the spring season to help get them – or keep them – in the red as the 100-degree (and well over) days of summer get closer and closer.
Coronavirus has dealt the entire tourism and hospitality industry a devastating blow, and particular in cities like Phoenix. Spring Training is off. The NBA and NHL have suspended games. Restaurants are considering closing in the short term, which may lead to more long-term results.
On Wednesday, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency in Arizona, which is designed to provide fast access to the tools that health officials and administrators need to address the spread of COVID-19. The governor also issued an Executive Order focused on protecting Arizonans and high-risk populations from the virus.
The moves are smart, forward-thinking and in the best interest of residents and visitors alike.
As a team that has had to help write several statements in recent weeks, I was particularly interested in how the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) would formally respond to the most recent moves by the government, businesses and sports and entertainment entities. We are closely monitoring this as our agency is hosting the spring conference for our international network, many of whom are coming from places that are facing travel bans.
Yesterday, the AOT released this update as it relates to travel to and from Arizona at present. In it, the team lays out the facts in a simple and straight-forward manner. AOT Director Debbie Johnson reiterates several bullet points we have similarly shared with clients: only refer to the CDC and WHO when seeking information on Coronavirus.
As a professional communicator, I cannot stress this enough. Stop using Facebook as a source. Stop fighting with friends online about the seriousness of the virus. Stop telling people anything you suspect, think or assume will happen. Please just provide the resources above when asked on any platform (or even by your 70-year-old mom).