COVID-19

Around the world, tourism boards are vying for your post-pandemic travel dollars

Marielle Segarra May 29, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Tourists visit Edinburgh Castle in Scotland in January. In some countries, tourism can account for 20% or even 30% of GDP. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
COVID-19

Around the world, tourism boards are vying for your post-pandemic travel dollars

Marielle Segarra May 29, 2020
Tourists visit Edinburgh Castle in Scotland in January. In some countries, tourism can account for 20% or even 30% of GDP. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

I was sitting on the couch the other day, watching TV, when I saw this ad for Scotland:

It starts with a gorgeous coastline view and then runs through Scotland’s greatest hits. Castles. Lochs. Historic ruins. Even a Shetland Pony with a big puff of hair on its head.

And then there’s the tagline: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

The ad comes from the country’s tourism board, Visit Scotland, which was trying reach the people who are stuck at home right now.

“We know that Scotland has a fond place in many people’s hearts. And then there’s other people that have always spoken about going to Scotland and they’ve never actually managed to make the trip,” said Gwen Raez, senior marketing manager for North America at Visit Scotland. “And what we wanted to say to them with this video is you really need to think about getting Scotland on your list.”

Ads like this one are everywhere. Indonesia’s tourism board is sharing photos of the country’s national parks with the hashtag TravelTomorrow.

It has competition from Germany, South Africa, Mexico, and Switzerland — which has its own tagline: “Dream now — travel later.”

“We wanted to be in contact with our guests,” said Claudio Zemp, director for the Americas at Switzerland Tourism. “We wanted to be talking to them, making sure that we are thinking of them, that they’re knowing that we are waiting for them.”

And while they’re waiting, Zemp and his colleagues are not above tempting you with some dreamy visuals of a train ride through the Swiss Alps.

Switzerland, like a lot of countries, relies on tourism dollars. The tourism industry is about 3% of its GDP, and it’s also a big source of jobs in small towns.

And “in some countries, tourism can account or 20% or even 30% of their GDP,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst at Atmosphere Research Group.

Harteveldt says if it seems a little early to be luring tourists — considering the pandemic — keep in mind that “international travel has a longer lead time and there may be more logistics to consider,” he said. “They need to start doing this now.”

Even though, he says, some places might not see overseas travelers until next year. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

Read More

Collapse

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

Marketplace + Caffeine = daily dose of awesome!

Your donation today gets you two things to keep you going – your daily news fix and your new favorite mug.