By: Stephanie Auslander, Destinations International
National Travel and Tourism week is the first return to the event in two years as the tourism and hospitality sector move into recovery. As a result of the pandemic, the tourism industry has faced unprecedented challenges including record job loss, difficulty rehiring, and consumer anxiety over traveling once again. However, National Travel & Tourism week presents a unique opportunity to reset goals around this year’s theme: the future of travel. Celebrating a future that is more innovative, sustainable, equitable, and provides a more seamless experience for the consumer. Accelerating trends that have developed because of the pandemic include touchless pay options, new interactions with consumers, and strategies aimed at the ultimate benefactor of tourism: the community’s residents. The future of travel is driven by all stakeholders within the industry with the intention of providing a more seamless travel experience that benefits everyone.
The US Travel Association has provided toolkits for destinations to help celebrate this important milestone. The toolkits include talking points about the reemergence of travel, social media graphics, branding, logos, and ways to engage the intended audience. The social media platform Twitter is participating in the event by encouraging its users to light up social media red to celebrate the industry event. Destination organizations participating in the event can download the graphics and repost to their own Twitter pages. Included in the toolkit are recommendations for celebrating the week by engaging with stakeholders in-person, displaying what the future of travel means to each community, and showing gratitude toward employees and colleagues.
The social media campaign for this weeklong event focuses on key industry priorities; Innovation, facilitating recovery, turning twitter red, increasing global competitiveness, rebuilding America’s workforce, planning for a more inclusive future, and facilitating more in-person events. Rebuilding the workforce remains one of the most pressing challenges out of the pandemic will take aggressive policy actions to combat the challenge. National tourism and travel week encourages destination organizations to contact stakeholders and share stories on how travel recovery creates jobs in the community, demonstrates the benefits of pursuing a travel career, and focusing how a diversified workforce benefits the industry.
Several organizations are participating in the weeklong tourism event, including members of Destinations International. Destinations recognize the need to build a travel industry that is tailored to the community, resilient to incoming challenges, and innovative into the future. Adapting to new technologies including biometrics, improved baggage and ticketing services and other advancements paves the way for a travel experience that is more seamless, secure, and in-person. Health and safety protocols at business centers, meeting spaces, convention centers, and events make it easier for business travel to return sooner than initially forecasted.
Discover Lehigh Valley
Discover Lehigh Valley is fully embracing the concept of this year’s theme Future of Travel by coming together to support one another and celebrate their local industry’s strength, selflessness, and resiliency. The organization is celebrating with sample media posts, blogs, and highlighting key statistics regarding the impact that tourism has had on their local community. Statistics include the impact tourism has on the local economy with average households saving an estimated $1398 in taxes more per year. Media postings highlight tourism professionals across the country coming together to celebrate what makes the industry special and ways to build resilience into the future. One of the key priorities referenced by Lehigh Valley in developing the future of travel; Rebuilding America’s workforce. It is estimated that the leisure and hospitality sector represented 73% of all current job losses in February 2022. They plan to highlight on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that while the future may remain uncertain, the future of travel is unbroken and contributes to the local economy in a way that is unmatched. Tourism in the Lehigh Valley contributes to the local economy by the creation of 26,500 jobs, advocating for the spirit of travel, and uniting residents in a way that makes them feel truly at home.
Rochester, New York is starting the weeklong event by hosting a light meet and greet with industry officials on May 2. On May 3rd, attendees will hear a presentation from industry veteran Sally Berry on how local businesses can increase partnership with the organization. Other activations throughout the week include hosting member happy hours, creating support for local businesses, encouraging attendance on the first day of the Rochester Lilac Festival, and helping residents dress for success while looking for employment. The program known as “Fill the Suitcase” has partnered with Dress for Success Rochester to provide those in need with professional attire needed to secure employment and includes professional development programs designed to equip women with success. The mission is aimed to assist women with professional attire, networking connections, and confidence building needed to succeed both professionally and personally.
Visit Rogers Arkansas is celebrating National Travel and Tourism week by displaying the collective strength of the tourism industry. The organization’s outlook is that despite the challenges of the past two years due to the pandemic the future is brighter than ever as the industry recovers. During the weeklong event they are utilizing the toolkit provided for the week to recognize the contributions that the tourism industry has made on their local economy and aiming to build a more dynamic, sustainable, inclusive, and innovative future. In addition to their key priorities, the organization plans to celebrate by lighting up their social media postings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Emphasis into the future means building a more resilient future, supporting jobs, generating tax revenue, and prioritizing the community are at the forefront of the future of travel.