PRESIDENT'S SUMMARY

May 2020

Last year, Tourism Economics—a division of Oxford Economics—determined that tourism was the number one industry in the Coachella Valley, generating over $7.5 billion in economic impact and $5.9 billion in visitor spending and supporting over 53,000 jobs. Based on Tourism Economics' forecast methodology, visitor direct spending in 2020 will be reduced by $3.4 billion due to COVID-19, which is a reduction of 57%. The tourism industry will lose over 24,000 jobs.

The elimination of tourism due to COVID-19 is also having a very negative impact on government revenues. Tourism Economics estimates that tourism in 2019 generated over $1.2 billion in governmental revenues, with $687 million of it in state and local taxes alone, supporting local city and county budgets and amounting to the average salary for 7,000 firefighters, which is the equivalent of 7,200 police officers or 13,000 teachers. If we apply the same forecast of a 57% reduction for the remainder of 2020, governmental revenues will be reduced by $684 million overall for 2020 alone. 

The coronavirus has affected all sectors of the U.S. economy, but it has had a disproportionate impact on hotels. restaurants, vacation rentals, attractions and all businesses dependent on the hospitality industry. The actions we take now are critical to the long-term sustainability of our industry. Programs need to be developed for the region to assist our businesses with access to subsidized, reduced-cost Personal Protection Equipment, hand sanitizers, and sanitation products and equipment. Local training programs on how to implement and manage sanitation protocols and how to interact with employees and the consumer will be needed. Access to rapid testing for our employees is also critical. 

The CVB is currently working with the Coachella Valley Economic Recovery Team, Riverside County Task Force, California Travel Association and Visit California on these topics and more. It is important that we all work together and are aligned on priorities that will enable our destination to re-open as soon, and as safely, as possible. 

Toward that effort, the CVB team is developing a “Pledge” that will communicate to the future visitor and our residents that our industry not only values their safety as we re-open but is also prepared and committed. To help develop this Pledge, the CVB is seeking input from the following sectors:

• Hotels
• Restaurants/Bars
• Retail
• Attractions
• Weddings/Events
• Airport
• Convention Center 
• Golf 
• Vacation Rentals
• Casinos
• Spas/Fitness
• Transportation

Valley hotels have already created a task force, co-chaired by Peggy Trott and Christoph Roshardt, that quickly engaged their properties to align on key priorities and guidelines for a phased re-opening proposal. A draft of that proposal is included in your board packet.

The new guidelines released by Governor Newsom indicate that our re-opening target date of May 22 will be difficult to meet, and we are working with Riverside County on how to navigate the state's guidelines and provide suggestions on possible revisions. The CVB is working with all of the hospitality sectors noted above to generate similar proposals. It is important that each sector has a consensus on their recommended re-opening strategies and protocols. 

Last week the CVB held virtual events for National Travel and Tourism week, with one live online event held each day Monday through Friday. On Wednesday, we had a virtual Town Hall with Caroline Beteta from Visit California; a copy of the Town Hall presentation deck is included for reference. On Friday, we released a new Greater Palm Springs destination video that highlights local artists and interprets our destination music into various genres representing the diversity of our community. Please click HERE to watch it. 

The CVB team is also working on the renewal of the Tourism Business Improvement District, and we hope to have the petition process completed by our June Board Meeting.  

We truly appreciate all of your support and assistance during this difficult time. 

Sincerely,

Signature

Scott White, President/CEO