Collier County hotel bookings dropped by 90 percent in the month of Apri because of the lockdown.
But this weekend is Memorial Day and the official kickoff to summer tourism and businesses and hotels are hoping that guests are ready to come back.
“Typically memorial day weekend is very very strong,” said Inn on Fifth Owner Phil McCabe.
This weekend is the first big test for Collier County tourism and whether industries affected by COVID-19 can bounce back financially.
They’ve put out three new advertisements in
an effort to bring people back to the beaches. One of them, it states “like all things this too will pass. And when it does the beaches will still be gorgeous, the everglades will still be breathtaking and the food will still be amazing…”
The Collier County Tourism Development Council launched these ads as part of a one million dollar effort to get people back out to businesses.
The council says it’s setting it sights on residents nearby as many people don’t feel comfortable getting on planes at the moment. However, there were a few visitors who we’re afraid to hop on a flight.
Terry Braden says,”when we flew up it was not crowded, there was a lot of space between people.”
“I’m from las vegas and I wanted to get out of town and Florida is really the only thing open right now so I needed to come and visit,” said Aime Sibley, another visitor.She’s been enjoying going to the pool every day, adding “I went jet skiing yesterday, there’s just so much to do to keep you occupied.”
The inn owner doesn’t believe the ads were worth it
“I think they should save their advertisement dollars until Dade and Broward open up,” he said. To him, it’ll take more than ads to get people back. “When they can get past the fear of the pandemic,” he says that’s when people return to attractions like restaurants, hotels and beaches.
However, McCabe says he has taken precautions to keep guests and staff safe. “We established all kind of procedures on how we clean the room,” he explained. “All my staff will be wearing masks, they will be wearing gloves, we have hand sanitizer.”
According to Sibley, all it takes is a little sunshine. “I think we feel safer because it is so warm,” she said.