Across our destination, I think it's fair to say that everyone is doing their best to cope with challenges that grow more difficult by the day.
As you'll see in our research section below, our industry has only begun to feel the full effects of the coronavirus, with more hard times just around the corner. The outlook is staggering, but together we will get through it.
At Visit Orlando, we're working to support our community through a variety of measures designed to keep our economy functioning as much as possible and communicate new developments as widely. You'll read about some of these activities below, and, as always, please don't hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.
VISIT ORLANDO UPDATES
#OrlandoToGo: To support our local restaurants, we've launched a special "Orlando To Go" campaign and webpage that now includes over 252 area restaurants that are currently offering takeout and delivery with information on many others. The webpage has been heavily visited by local residents, and the campaign has generated positive coverage by local media. Join us by sharing your \ favorite eateries on social media by using the hashtag #OrlandoToGo on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Rescheduling Conventions: Our conventions team in partnership with the Orange County Convention Center and member hotels have done an incredible job working together to reschedule impacted conventions. So far, 14 groups have rescheduled for later this year or 2021, representing over $371 million in economic impact. The OCCC calendar for July-December is now almost sold out!
Financial Relief: To help serve local businesses and industry employees, we have assembled information on community and financial relief efforts. This list is published and regularly updated on our member website.
It's encouraging that, just today, the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, the CARES Act, has been passed by Congress and awaits the president's signature. It's a great first step and an economic lifeline, but more will certainly need to be done in the days ahead. Here's what the stimulus will mean from a travel and tourism standpoint. In the lead-up to the stimulus vote, Visit Orlando and several member companies joined the U.S. Travel Association in advocating for small businesses and nonprofits to receive greater loan assistance.
COMMUNITY & HEALTH
Stay at Home: Orange County's "Stay at Home" mandate is now in effect through April 9. For information on how the executive order impacts personal mobility and business operations, please refer to this FAQ.
COVID-19 Crisis Assistance Program: Due to the overwhelming response from the community, Orange County is increasing staff members for its
COVID-19 Crisis Assistance Program to assist with high call volume. For the quickest way to contact the program, fill out a form at:
ocfl.net/COVID19RentalAssistance. Appointments will be scheduled within 2-5 business days. If you are unable to fill out a form online, you can call at 407-836-6500 (Mon – Fri., 8 a.m. to noon).
Food Pantry: The Rock Dinner Show's home, The Forum, is now a
food bank to help feed hotel and other tourism industry workers who have been laid off. The Forum has 15,000 square feet of space, which workers hope to use for non-perishable food storage.
Drive-Through Testing: Two drive-through testing sites opened this week in Orange County, one at the Orange County Convention Center and the other at 12050 E. Colonial Drive. The hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information, including criteria to be considered for testing, can be found at ocfl.net/coronavirus.
RESEARCH & INDUSTRY
Hotel Occupancy Falls Sharply: Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for March 15-21 fell to 23.2%, a 74.7% drop vs. the same week last year. The average daily rate was $91.08, down 40.5%. The statewide occupancy rate was 35.0% (-59.2%) and the national rate was 30.3% (-56.4%). The lowest occupancy among the top lodging markets was San Francisco (16.6%), followed closely by New York City (16.8%) and Boston (17.3%).
3 in 4 Have Delayed Travel Plans: Three-fourths of consumers who were planning a domestic or international trip have delayed those plans, according to the second wave of a consumer survey by Visit Orlando's market research team. The share of consumers delaying their travel rose from 48% in wave 1 (March 11-13) to 75% in wave 2 (March 18-20). Among consumers who had already booked a trip, 60% have canceled, up from 35% in wave 1.
Lost Tourism Revenue Creates Economic Fallout: A new report from Tourism Economics projects tourism industry revenues in the U.S. will decline 72% in March and 83% in April. In May, the size of decline will begin to moderate, but it will continue through the end of year. Including international and domestic travel, $400 billion in travel spending will be lost in 2020, and the ripple effects will be significant: Tourism Economics projects the U.S. economy will lose 5.9 million jobs due to declines in travel; this alone is enough to double the current unemployment rate, from 3.5% in February to 7.1% by the end of the second quarter.
REAL ID Deadline Extended: The Department of Homeland Security has delayed the REAL ID Act requiring U.S. travelers to possess a REAL ID-compliant card, or an acceptable alternative, to fly on commercial aircraft. The new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is Oct. 1, 2021.
FOR YOUR BUSINESS
» Skift, a leading travel trade publication, is launching a new series of online summits called Travel's Path Forward. The first webinar, on business travel, will be a roundtable with industry leaders Tuesday, March 31 at 11 a.m. Register here.
» Small Business University is offering a free webinar on "10 Ways to Run Your Business Virtually" Tuesday, March 31 at 2 p.m. Register here.
» CreditCards.com shared information on how to expedite refunds for canceled events and what to expect in the coming months. Read more here.