COVID-19 Hospitality Sector Support Programs?

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Question:

What programs are EDCs and local governments putting in place to assist their hospitality sector during the time of COVID-19?

Answers:

Provide them a small grant $500, towards adding online shopping, link, etc to their website to allow their business to move forward during these times.


Touch base with Gary Troutman in Hot Springs, AR. He and his team are doing an outstanding job of supporting their tourism economy: gary.troutman@growinghotsprings.com


We have done two things for the tourism industry that may be of interest to other communities.

First, we created a website that gathers all community-wide content that is tourism-related- virtual tours, virtual concert series, etc. and compiled it in one place so our community can market itself and support our attractions locally in and out of our community. Check it out at www.armchairmoco.com. It doesn’t help the hotels but helps local shops, restaurants and tourist attractions at least.

Second, we are hosting a Tourism round table for North Alabama DMOs. We just did one today for our economic development clients that went great and also did one recently for government contractors. The format is to take about 20 minutes to present best practices for communication during this challenging time and then opening the group up for discussion to share challenges, best practices, ideas, etc. These have been amazing. The tourism one we are hosting, hopefully, next week, will spend less time on communications, and more time on funding. A regional tourism executive will be sharing ideas such as local bond issues, etc. Their need is more funding than communications so we are more of a host for this one. I think the round table portion will be helpful. We are limiting our groups to 25 or so, which has worked well.

So perhaps, a local roundtable can be hosted with the area hotels, attractions, and leaders, to discuss how best to raise awareness and some possible local solutions that can be explored.


Our county has treated hospitality businesses the same as our other small businesses.  We don’t have enough resources to delineate special programs by industry.  For all of our small businesses, we set up a COVID-19 micro-grant program and we changed the payment terms of our revolving loan fund to be interest-only for the first year.