SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Tourism on the Suncoast took a huge hit from the Coronavirus, but Visit Sarasota County’s Vice President, Erin Duggan, said tourism looks to be heading in a positive direction over the past couple of weeks.
In January, February, and March before the pandemic hit, Visit Sarasota was seeing some of the best tourism numbers on record. But, in April tourism in Sarasota County was down about 95%. The economic impact tourism had on Sarasota County from April 2019 to April 2020 was down about 94%.
Duggan said she expects tourism to be slow and steady for the next couple of months. As for marketing, while the economic impact is a driver to get tourist here, Visit Sarasota said they are taking residents concerns into account.
“We also know that in our consumer sentiment, residents want to get back to work and they want their family and their friends to get back to work and to be able to pay their bills. But they also aren’t looking to go to stores and places where there’s going to be tons of crowds so that’s why I say there is this delicate balancing act about doing marketing. Especially garnering tourist to come to Sarasota county. It’s really got to be this really thoughtful approach,” Duggan said.
She went on to say Visit Sarasota plans to advertise digitally for the immediate future. Doing so will make it easy to change the message if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases.