With residents of many states still under stay-at-home orders and measures in place to restrict the movement of non-residents entering some states, the idea of celebrating traveling might not seem timely.
But the U.S. Travel Association, a national, nonprofit organization representing and advocating for all components of the travel industry, is going ahead with National Travel and Tourism Week, scheduled for May 3-9.
The event is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community. “It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal wellbeing,” according to the association.
Before COVID-19, the travel industry generated $2.1 trillion in economic output and supported 15 million jobs, according to the Washington-based group.
This year, the pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and the entire economy, according to the group.
“Now more than ever, the travel and tourism community must come together, support each other and remind our country that even through the most difficult times, the spirit of travel cannot be broken,” according to the association.
The group created a 45-second video that shows how “the spirit of travel moves America forward” and will “help rebuild our economy.” The photo shows what is presumably stock images of people engaging in tourism activities. However, no one is wearing masks or practicing social distancing, which are likely to be a part of travel going forward.
A toolkit created for the association’s members to promote the week includes guidelines for messaging. The recommended primary message is that the week honors the “spirit of travel in recognition of the industry’s strength, selflessness and resiliency.”
Secondary messages include “When the time is right, the travel and tourism industry will be integral to our nation’s recovery—for the economy and American jobs. But it is the spirit of travel that will heal our country’s morale. This is why Congress and our elected leaders must do all they can to protect the spirit of travel.”
The association is taking to Twitter on May 5 to host a #VirtualRoadTrip across the U.S.,highlighting destinations, businesses, experiences and attractions. @USTravel will share prompts and polls throughout the day to increase engagement.
Michigan is using the week-long event to benefit hospitality industry employees who have been adversely affected by the halt in tourism. The state’s tourism website, Pure Michigan, is hosting a virtual concert and entertainment series to benefit the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Education Foundation’s Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund.
"Come Together: A Relief Effort for Tourism Workers" will stream live May 4-8 on MLive’s Facebook page as well as Pure Michigan’s Facebook page.
“There is no doubt that we are currently going through an incredibly difficult period as a state and as a travel industry, so we hope to spread some joy through these fun virtual experiences that will also benefit hospitality industry employees,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in a release.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board is hosting an Instagram Live DJ set on May 3 geared toward people and their pets. It is being co-hosted with Annenberg PetSpace, a community space and the LAX PUP Therapy dogs, a therapy dog program at Los Angeles International Airport aimed at helping travelers to destress.