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I’m now just over two weeks into my role as Visit Salt Lake’s president & CEO and you’ve likely received more member updates from me than either of us ever expected, but it’s because I want to ensure you that we – me and the entire Visit Salt Lake team – is here for you, your business and your employees during this global crisis. I also want you to know that we will get through this, together.
We are working hard to be your go-to source for everything you and your staff may need, including a number of COVID-19-specific resource pages on our website, pages that we update as soon as new information becomes available. The primary “COVID-19 Update” page includes a number of additional resource pages as well, including: Business Disaster Recovery Financial Resources, the source for local, state and national loan programs and financial assistance, insurance and employment information; Virtual Events listing the many opportunities available to experience Salt Lake, virtually; Restaurants with Curbside Pickup, an invaluable list of restaurants serving our community and those I encourage you to continue to support; and #SaltLakeStrong, a page dedicated to the many positive stories coming from our community.
In addition, I recently appointed a team of eight VSL staff members to be part of the SBA Rapid Response Team, knowledgeable with the many financial assistance options and programs available. Each team member will devote 10-15 hours per week to assist you, our member businesses, through this financially difficult time and get you the help you need. This effort is being headed up by Michael Mack, so please reach out to him for any questions you may have.
Finally, according to various trusted reports, models and sources – including our own Cliff Doner – the forecast for the travel industry, and Salt Lake in particular, is promising once we get through this initial shock to our collective system. To illustrate this point, our sales’ team booked 55,000 future room nights in the month of March. Yes, 2020 will be down considerably with a good rebound in 2021 and 2022 projections matching those of 2019, which was a record for our community. And when travel and tourism rebounds, we will be ready.
As I’ve been saying and will continue to do so, “We will get through this, together!”