Coronavirus and Meetings
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Updated May 12, 2020, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Across the globe, coronavirus concerns and restrictions on nonessential travel are keeping millions of would-be travelers at home. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the number of airline passengers has fallen 90 percent compared to this time last year.
What would have normally been a busy travel season has now been marked by empty flights, closed attractions and shuttered hotels. But convention and visitor bureaus in every corner of the world are issuing messages of resilience. From Pittsburgh to Portugal, CVBs are urging people to stay home now and resume travel when it's safe. Below are a handful of campaigns that offer inspiring messages during this trying time.
The Atlantic City casinos have gone dark and the once-bustling boardwalk has emptied out. But a video from Meet AC stressed that the city will return stronger than ever once the pandemic passes.
"It may not seem like a great time to think about travel, but this too shall pass," says the video. "Now more than ever, we need to come together as a community and a destination. Atlantic City is eager to welcome you back to our seaside destination when we defeat this crisis and come back stronger than ever. Our team is ready to assist you when the timing is right."
In Charm City, Visit Baltimore president and CEO Al Hutchinson delivered a personal video urging people to stay safe and outlining ways the CVB is doing its part to help fight COVID-19.
"From Visit Baltimore's perspective, we wanted you to know that we're with you in this fight and we're going to make sure that we do our part to help you rebuild your businesses when the time is right," says Hutchinson. "We don't know what the future holds here but one thing we do know is that we've had crises before, and we've worked very hard to overcome those. The way we've overcome these crises in the past is by working together as a team. So, we believe that if we work together and we team up, we can get through this. I want you to know that team Baltimore is here for you."
A hopeful video from the Bermuda Tourism Authority tells viewers that "we will travel again." The video pays homage to the island territory's motto, "Quo Fata Ferunt," which translates to "Whither the Fates Carry Us" and speaks to Bermuda's strength during times of uncertainty.
"It's not just Bermuda's motto. It's a declaration of our island's perseverance," says the video. "We will persevere because our island spirit demands it. When the time is right, with the warmth, pride and hospitality of our people, Bermuda looks forward to welcoming you to her shores again."
The Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau released an uplifting video that praised all of work people are doing to fight COVID-19 and support one another during this tough time. The video also noted that Boise will be waiting with open arms to welcome visitors back when the crisis passes.
"They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Right now, Boise is discovering how true that is. We miss our community. We miss our friends. We miss you," says the video. "But we remain strong and inspired. Inspired by your acts of kindness. Inspired by your sacrifice. Inspired by your support for one another. Inspired to reopen when the time is right."
In sunny California, Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea put together a video asking people to stay home and keep Carmel safe, so it will be ready to welcome guests down the line.
"We love our visitors and our locals. But now is the time to stay apart and make memories from home," says the video. "We're keeping Carmel safe for your future arrival. We look forward to welcoming you back when the time is right."
Meanwhile, Experience Columbia SC turned to its travel workers to deliver a special message. The video, which features workers from the city's hotels, local zoo and nearby airport, prompted people to stay home and help flatten the curve.
"It's no secret that we love Columbia, S.C. From the music and the food, down to the rivers, this place is our home. But we love most about Columbia is the people. That is why it's so important to stay home, to trust healthcare professionals and do our part to flatten the curve," says the video. "Even when we face challenges, we find ways to overcome them together. Even when we are apart, we are never alone. "
Few may know that Fayetteville, N.C. is home to the largest U.S. military base in the world, Fort Bragg. The city also boasts a number of military museums and landmarks that honor the country's fight for freedom.
In a video, the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau drew parallels between previous battles and the current fight against coronavirus, noting city's continued strength and perseverance over the years and that this battle too can be won.
"This is a special place. Every street, every neighborhood, every monument reveals the backbone to our nation's sense of safety and sense of protection. This is a special place that reverberates with stories of battles fought and battles won," says the video. "Our very unity echoes from challenges faced and overcome. Even as we stand apart, this is a special place. So, with resolute calmness and determination, we press on."
Little Rock, Ark.
The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau released a creative campaign playing off a slogan on the CVB website, which says "If you're big on good times, you're big on Little Rock." The new video, titled "Big on Staying Home," asks visitors to stay put for now and promises to welcome them back soon.
"We all want to get back out there. We're human. We're big on doing stuff we like with people we love, but now is not the time," says the video. "Now is the time to be big on staying safe and big on taking care of each other because that is what it is going to take to get through this. And when we do, there's one thing you can count on: Little Rock will be here to welcome you, big on all that stuff you've missed the most."
Miami boasts 248 days of sunshine a year and in a new video, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau noted that the city will continue to shine on and guests will be welcomed back as soon as it is safe.
"Sometimes looking ahead is what moves us forward. It's in those moments where we discover who we truly are, where we appreciate more than ever the beauty of life, and turn that admiration into inspiration with life-affirming optimism and a thirst for endless discovery," says the video. "There's a place with that same bright sun-drenched attitude. It radiates from everything, from every corner and from everyone ... We can't wait to welcome you with open arms. Until then, we stand by you as you stand by ready for our Miami sun to shine brighter than ever."
A video from Visit Milwaukee praised the efforts of its local businesses to aid in the fight against coronavirus and assured travelers that they will soon be welcomed back to the midwestern state with a warm embrace and a cold beer.
"Our distilleries are making hand sanitizer, our manufacturers are working together to make protective equipment, fund raisers have been started for hospitality workers and restaurants are giving away free meals," notes the video. "These people and so many more give us hope and remind us that the things that make us a community will never change. There are still and always will be good things brewing in Milwaukee. We know we will see you again. Our hotels will make up a bed for you, our restaurants will set their tables for you and our cultural and outdoor attractions will be ready for you to explore."
Florida's Paradise Coast lives up to the allure of its name and offers a beautiful backdrop for memorable meetings. In a new video, the Naples, Marco Island and Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau promises planners that "We will meet again," and its venues are eager to welcome guests back.
"Even the most experienced meeting planner could never have planned for this, but it will pass," says the video. "When it does, here's what you can expect from Paradise: venues ready to welcome you, chefs ready to wow you and sunsets ready to inspire you like never before. Until then, keep us in your thoughts and we'll do the same. If there's one thing all of us know and all of us believe, it's that we will meet again."
New York City
New York has been at the epicenter of the nation's COVID-19 outbreak. But in a video, NYC & Company vowed that the city will overcome the current crisis and emerge "strong than ever, brighter than before and together as always."
"It's been said we're tough, and we are. We also have immense heart and boundless compassion. With all that we are, we give each other hope for better days that will reunite us," says the video. "Every day we show the world just how strong we really are. We show our resilience too, preparing even now for when we finally get to look up again and welcome each other and the world back to our home."
Just outside of San Francisco sits Oakland, a diverse city where more than 125 languages are spoken and a vibrant culinary scene welcomes travelers.
A new video posted by Visit Oakland shows off the best of the city and tells viewers the destination isn't going anywhere. Instead, the video notes that "strong roots weather the toughest storms" and proclaims that "Oakland is here for you."
Visit Omaha released a 60-second video reminding people that the current coronavirus outbreak is temporary. Soon, the city will welcome back travelers, businesses will resume operations and events will pick up again.
"Every morning, somewhere in the heart of the hearty Midwest, the sun rises over a city where the harshest winters bring out the warmest smiles," says the video. "The people here share resilience. The men, the women and the families whose lives have been put on pause, let's remind them that this is just the intermission and the show will go on."
In Steel City, Visit Pittsburgh shared a message of strength, noting that the community stands together as one during uncertain times. In a video, the CVB also told visitors that it looks forward to welcoming them back as soon as they are ready to ready.
"To all our visitors, friends and Pittsburghers around the world, we pass along our best wishes and we look forward to welcoming you again soon," says the video. "We cannot welcome you with open arms now, but we can welcome you with open hearts."
The island of Puerto Rico, known for overcoming hurricanes and hardship, released a series of inspirational videos. The "All in Good Time" series includes four videos that highlight the best of Puerto Rico and inspire hope that visitors will able to return soon.
"Right now, it's time for patience. Soon enough, it'll be time for paradise," read one video from Discover Puerto Rico. Another said, "Now is the time for warm wishes. Soon enough, we'll be back to warm welcomes."
Visit Phoenix took advantage of the city's rugged terrain to issue a special message of resilience. The video notes that much like the nearby mountains and cacti, Phoenix will rise from this, and local hospitality and CVB staff members will be there to help planners return when the time is right.
"Our city in the desert is known for rising, like our mighty mountains and our stately saguaros. Our skyline and big ideas also rise from the lush desert floor. Our language is sunshine. Our spirit is resilience, and reinvention is our way of life," says the video. "While a lot has changed in the world around us, these things will never change. Our commitment will always be to bring people together, but our meeting places and our desert spaces just aren't the same without you. For now, we want you to know that our attractions, our sunsets, our hiking trails, our community, our hospitality partners and our team of experts will all be here ready for you."
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Sioux Falls, home to picturesque waterfalls, also played off its landscape and issued a video affirming viewers that this a strong community prepared to weather the current storm and emerge stronger than ever.
"During times of uncertainty, there is one thing we can count on: each other," says the video from Experience Sioux Falls. "Here in the heart of America, lies a community as unwavering as the cascading waters of the Big Sioux. Where hard work and dedication reveal a visionary spirit of progress, shared by all who call this place home ... The challenges of today are temporary, but our future is bright."
St. Petersburg / Clearwater, Fla.
In Florida, Visit St. Petersburg / Clearwater advised visitors to stay home and remain positive -- the warm weather and beaches will be here to explore once the pandemic passes.
"There are beaches we can't wait to visit. Sand we can't wait to feel in between our toes. Water we can't wait to dive into," says the video. "But for now, we'll wait and make sure we are keeping all of us safe and we get through this together. Let's stay positive and find those glimmers of sunlight because there are brighter days ahead."
Along the western coast of South America, Chile Travel launched an inspirational campaign under the hashtag #IDreamofChile. The accompanying video notes that a travel break is necessary right now, but prompts viewers to "get inspired, prepare and plan ahead" for when restrictions are lifted.
"The best decisions require a pause. It's time to stop, breathe, observe," says the video. "The wonderful days ahead -- imagine them, yearn them ... It's just a matter of time. The unbelievable landscapes aren't going anywhere."
Colombia, known for its coffee and biodiverse landscapes, is encouraging travelers to take care of themselves and their families.
A video from ProColombia says, "Stay at home, read that book, binge that series or finish that project you started. Soon, we will meet again. Soon, our rhythm will move you the way it always has, and you'll see our landscapes like never before. Soon, we'll welcome you once more. Let's take care now, so we can meet again soon."
Visit Britain issued a special message of support to event planners, who have been particularly hard hit by coronavirus. In a short video, the CVB reminded event planners that they are not alone, and Visit Britain is there to help them get through this difficult time and rebook their meetings for a later date.
"The events industry is like no other, a community that supports each other," notes the video. "In these uncertain times, the UK wants to say to all event professionals, you're not alone and we're here to support you. And as an industry united, we are stronger together."
Authorities in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have advised against all non-essential travel to the island. While guests cannot visit the region known for its rolling hills and impressive castles at this time, Discover Ireland launched a video titled "I will return," which features an original poem.
"I will return into her arms, gently into the fold. To see her waters and her hills and all the beauty she beholds," says the video. "We all know that these green lands have weathered tougher storms. The wandering lanes, rugged cliffs and the fields laced with streams will still be there after I awake. But for now, they're in my dreams."
The Monaco Convention Bureau rolled out a new "Miss You" campaign. The 30-second video features shots of business meetings and conventions that took place in the Principality of Monaco before COVID-19, and will hopefully resume soon.
In a press release, the CVB noted "The Principality is missing everything its visitors bring: from those treasured moments of friendship and fun, to the opinions and customs they share, the languages they speak and of course the wow factor experienced by everyone who comes to Monaco. All of the things together make it the vibrant and dynamic destination that it is. The message is simple: "Miss You" -- which is supported by friendly messages and pictures, to remind the world of those precious times that everyone looks forward to sharing again."
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Visit Portugal launched a similar video with the message that it's time to stop traveling -- but only for a little while.
"We are meant to connect, and we are stronger together. But separated, we are today more united than ever. And for now, our main strength is to be apart," says the video. "It’s time to stop. Nature, landscapes, beaches and monuments aren’t going anywhere. They will still be there, waiting for a better time to be lived. And we must do the same for a while."
In Switzerland, a "dream now, travel later" campaign urged people to stay home for now but continue planning for future trips. In addition to a video, the Switzerland Tourism website offers a virtual tour that invites viewers to explore the country's historic hotels, scenic nature and iconic Swiss alps -- all from the comfort of their homes.
"While travel to Switzerland is unfortunately not possible at the moment, it is allowed to dream, to be inspired and to plan. That is why we would like to bring Switzerland to your home," said Caroline Pidroni, head of the Swiss Convention Bureau.
Rwanda, also known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, has halted all arriving and departing commercial flights due to COVID-19. Tourism activities have been suspended and the country's CVB has had to pivot its marketing campaign from "Visit Rwanda Now" to "Visit Rwanda Soon."
"The world has gone quiet. Our borders have closed and the skies are empty," says the new video. "We stand for unity, for being together. That's why we know this difficult time will pass ... The world will open for business once more and when it does, we will be waiting with open arms. We can't wait for you to visit Rwanda soon."
In Abu Dhabi, attractions have closed and roads have cleared out. But Visit Abu Dhabi said the city will only stay silent for a short time and issued a video encouraging people to stay home, stay safe and stay curious until travel resumes.
"The world is quieter now. We can feel it all around us, in the parks and museums, on the beaches and roads. The silence is deafening but this is not a time for sadness. It's a time for reflection," says the video. "The world will soon return, and Abu Dhabi will be waiting with open arms."
Meanwhile, a video from Visit Dubai encouraged people to pause for a moment of reflection until they are able to travel again.
"Taking a break can mean so many different things. It's a moment to relax, a moment to reflect, a moment to fly or a moment to set sail," says the video. "Nevertheless, it's simply a moment. And when the moment comes, we will be here."
The island nation of Singapore remains on lockdown due to COVID-19. In a video message, the Singapore Tourism Board asked people to stay home now so the city can recover and welcome back visitors soon.
"We miss the city. We miss the sites and the sounds. We miss the gardens and we miss the wild," says the video. "But most of all, we miss your smiles and the smiles you bring to our faces. We know you miss exploring Singapore. We are doing what we have to do to keep everyone safe and healthy, and we are asking you to help us."