CLEVELAND — We've been down and out before, and time after time Cleveland always finds a way to make a comeback.
As we begin what is one of the most challenging periods in our city’s history, Destination Cleveland is shifting its focus to help Northeast Ohio rebound.
"We don't quit on our people, we don't quit on our teams, we don't quit on our great city. It's such a hallmark of who we are as a community," Destination Cleveland CEO David Gilbert said.
Wednesday, the organization launched a new initiative called Undefeated.
"We believe undefeated optimism defines Clevelanders," Gilbert said.
The multi-phase program rolling out next week will help relaunch the tourism and hospitality industry in Northeast Ohio.
“Start with our residents before we invite travelers back. The phases seek to reengage at a pace individuals feel comfortable and only when they're ready,” Gilbert said.
Part of that comfort needed to get local customers back will come from Clean Committed.
It asks the retail, restaurants and attractions that make Northeast Ohio unique to commit to following a standard list of cleanliness practices developed by doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, Metro Health and University Hospitals.
"Consumers need visual assurances of cleanliness and sanitation. Each clean committed business will be listed on a website and an app,” Gilbert said.
Cuyahoga County is setting aside $700,000 from its CARES Act funding to distribute 300,000 care kits that those businesses can hand out to customers.
They will contain a paper mask, hand sanitizing wipes and recommended practices to follow.
It is "an incredible community-wide effort,” Gilbert said.
An additional 35,000 care kits will also be handed out to residents to help them feel safe while venturing out, and stay healthy.
Destination Cleveland believes when we feel comfortable returning to our favorite places and we share that commitment to our city on social media using #mywordmycle, on-the-fence visitors who will help revive our travel, tourism and hospitality industry will come back to Northeast Ohio.
"Each individual can consciously play a role in helping get this community out of this and being a better and healthier community on the other side,” Gilbert said.
While Gilbert expects to see more people resume road trips to Cleveland this summer, he believes the tourism industry in Northeast Ohio will not bounce back until 2023.
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