Rancho Mirage, Calif. (May 27, 2020) – With the halt of tourism due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders nationally and internationally, early estimates indicate lost visitor revenue in the Coachella Valley will be $3.47 billion – a reduction of 57%-- and more than 24,000 jobs eliminated. According to an economic impact study by Tourism Economics, tourism was the destination’s number one industry in 2019, with visitor spending over $5.9 billion and supporting over 53,000 jobs.
Tourism is a critical tax revenue generator for the valley’s nine cities, supporting public safety, education and infrastructure. In 2019, for instance, tourism contributed about $181 million to local municipalities. Post COVID-19, those revenues are expected to be reduced to about $103 million, having both an immediate and long-term impact on the region. The 2019 economic impact study indicated that each household would have to contribute an additional $4,031 amount each year to assist the cities with maintaining the level of public safety that tourism had been supporting prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.
When the coronavirus hit this spring, its devastating impact caused many in the local tourism community extreme financial hardship. The Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) paused its destination marketing plan accordingly and shifted its focus to keeping the local hospitality industry informed; creating resources for the local community, visitors and CVB Partners; and leading a coordinated response and recovery to assist its tourism partners, including a Hospitality Workforce Relief Fund.
As the CVB works on what recovery looks like and how all of the destination’s cities and various sectors can move forward with a unified approach, such as collaborating on best practices and protocols that keep our residents and visitors safe during the reopening of our local economy, the CVB—funded by a 3% Business Tourism Improvement District assessment of gross short-term room rental revenue for hotels with 50 rooms or more—has had to cut its budgets drastically due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Created by a Joint Powers Authority, the CVB was not eligible for assistance offered by the CARES Act Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance relief, and it is imperative for the economic recovery of this critical tourism industry for CVB to access federal aid. To cut costs, the CVB has furloughed 70% of its staff and suspended paid marketing efforts.
“Our local economy has been devastated by the coronavirus, affecting the entire community,” said Scott White, president and CEO for Greater Palm Springs CVB. “To ensure the tourism industry rebounds in the Coachella Valley, the CVB is prepared to execute marketing initiatives when it is again safe to travel that will resonate with the changing post-COVID-19 landscape that will inspire and and build consumer confidence.”
One of those initiatives is underway: a destination-wide pledge of unified commitment among all businesses to institute core safety practices. “While the safety of visitors, workforce and residents has always been one of the destination’s top priorities, it has become even more critical today, said White. “Our Safer Together, Greater Together Pledge is a unified approach for all of our local tourism business partners to communicate with our future visitors and our residents that we are ready to reopen as soon—and as safely—as possible.”
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About Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the official tourism marketing agency for the nine-city Southern California oasis of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella. With a mission to positively affect the destination’s $7.5 billion tourism economy and quality of life for its citizens, the CVB serves more than 3,000 business partners, providing sales, marketing and promotional efforts targeted to potential leisure travelers and event, meeting, and convention group markets.