Tourism Coming Back? It Might Take Until 2024 to Get Back to 2019 Numbers.

May 6, 2021 Topic: Tourism Region: Americas Blog Brand: Coronavirus Tags: TourismTravelCoronavirusStimulusLockdownsStimulus

Tourism Coming Back? It Might Take Until 2024 to Get Back to 2019 Numbers.

Fears over the pandemic and government impose lockdowns have hurt tourist travel and related revenue, although the economy is now slowly recovering due to increased vaccination.

Some industries were hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing orders. Restaurants, movie theaters, live theaters and music venues were all greatly harmed. But one other industry that got hit especially hard was tourism.

If no one can travel, after all, those businesses cannot function the way they normally do. However, there is help on the way, both from the receding of the pandemic and from funds from the American Rescue Plan stimulus package

A recent MarketWatch piece looked at how things are playing out in Napa, California, a place that often draws tourists. The site quotes the city’s finance director as stating that tourism revenues are not likely to reach back to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. 

Napa, the article said, will receive about $15 million from the American Rescue Plan, which the city plans to use in order to “plug revenue holes” for the next three fiscal years, while the region’s restaurants, wineries and other businesses accelerate their re-openings. However, Napa is far from out of the woods, as the city still has expenses to take care of from as far back as the Great Recession. In addition, the city must also deal with the threat of droughts and wildfires. 

The National League of Cities has come up with a calculator for cities to figure out what allocations of money they’re likely to receive from the American Rescue Plan. Some cities and municipalities have said that they’re looking for instructions as to how to spend their stimulus funds and what the rules are for them.

Another tourist destination reportedly struggling at this stage of the pandemic is Las Vegas. According to a report last month, overall revenue from casino gambling in the state of Nevada has been surging, with March going down as its biggest month in eight years. The strong performance was driven, in part, by the return of the NCAA Tournament after that event was canceled in 2020. 

However, the Las Vegas Strip itself has been struggling, as it is much more dependent on tourist income than most other parts of Nevada. Strip casinos posted $500 million in revenue in March of this year, which was a big increase from March 2020. 

“It was a phenomenal gaming win month—it surprised a lot of people,” Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, told Forbes back in late April. “We anticipated a good month, but I don’t think anyone saw this amount coming.”

Many of the events that typically attract people to Vegas, including major shows, conferences and conventions, have still not returned, although the largest trade show, the technology conference CES, will return to Las Vegas next January, its organizers recently announced. 

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.