Tourism agencies turn focus to helping Ohio businesses survive

Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 11:15:58-04

CLEVELAND — The coronavirus pandemic has both local and state tourism agencies taking a break from showing Ohioans some fantastic tourist spots the state has to offer and focusing instead on business that could use your support during the shutdown.

Locally, Destination Cleveland said that it is refocusing priorities and streamlining operations “due to unprecedented economic conditions.”

“With the sudden end of nearly all travel, hotel occupancy diminished to single digits, and we, along with so many of our peers around the country, are in an unprecedented situation,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland. “Just a month ago we announced that our primary initiatives would be to continue to deliver on our mission of attracting visitors and to amplify the impact of their work by getting visitors to consider Cleveland as a place to live and work. With the loss of our funding, we must now focus on new goals, the most important of which are organizational survival and compassion for our people. Acting now is necessary so that Destination Cleveland can emerge from this unprecedented time strong and ready to act.”

Gilbert says the agency streamlined its operations “through a combination of budget reducing efforts, including staff hours reductions and furloughs.”

“As we navigate the pandemic and its effect on our industry, two things do not change: our commitment to our staff and our commitment to the community,” Gilbert said “While we’ve had to make extremely difficult decisions, we remain dedicated to supporting our team in any way we can. That is our top priority. Our goal is to bring our employees back as soon as the situation allows.”

The agency now has resources on its website for local business owners to help them navigate their way through the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Tourism Industry Resource kit, available here, has numerous items for business owners such as unemployment information, financial resources, liquor buyback programs and more.

Destination Cleveland said it aims to “provide community support, advocacy and leadership to bring back Cleveland’s travel and tourism industry and get the community back on its feet as soon as possible.”

Similarly,, a website that normally features a myriad of destinations for residents and visitors alike to visit, has turned its focus on local businesses and is acting as a resource for people to find everything from places to eat, stores to buy from and entertainment like virtual activities to enjoy.

The website now has a page dedicated specifically to supporting businesses. You can find it, here.

The page has a list of hundreds of restaurants across the state that you can grab some food to go at. More here.

It also features a slew of stores and shops around the state that you can purchase items online at. More here.

If you want to try something new like taking a virtual tour of various museums, there’s a page for that too. More here.

If you happened to be part of an Ohio business that would like to be listed on the website, you can register here.

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