MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for businesses around the world, and Monterey County organizations are working together to prevent losses in the tourism industry.
The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Monterey County Hospitality Association, the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and chambers throughout the county are focusing on tourism recovery after Shelter in Place orders are lifted, but report that they have already seen hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
MCCVB reported on March 24 that there was an estimated short term loss of $400 to $500 million in tourism spending in the first 90 days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The model also projects that if the pandemic and economic effects last for the next six to nine months, there could be a billion dollars in losses.
“We have dozens of hotels that have closed, thousands of unoccupied hotel rooms and over 13,000 laid off hospitality workers,” said Jeroen Gerrese, the Chair of the MCHA, which represents all hospitality workers in the county. MCHA is working with elected officials to create a plan to get hotels operating at full capacity and get people back to work. “The path to recovery won’t be short, but I’m optimistic that we will soon turn a corner and people will travel again. As that happens, MCHA will be here to help guide the ramp up."
The organizations are focusing on two areas when it comes to hospitality and tourism recovery: business and marketing. MCCVB has created a marketing recovery task force made up of local businesses and attractions, while MPCC has formed a task force focusing on how businesses will ramp up and deal with potential government requirements MPCC also created a "Monterey Peninsula Small Business Relief Fund" at Community Foundation for Monterey County to help small businesses and their employees.
“Our community’s recovery requires maintaining businesses during the shelter-in-place so that there is something to come back to,” said Frank Geisler, the CEO at MPCC. “These small businesses are suffering tremendously. We hear their concerns and are doing everything in our power to help them survive.”