Update: March 25, 2020
Maine’s tourism industry is facing an unprecedented challenge as travel is being significantly impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
As you know, it is a fluid and evolving situation. While it is impossible to speculate on the overall impact COVID-19 will have on the travel industry, the Maine Office of Tourism will be providing periodic updates regarding travel and tourism in Maine.
HELPFUL INFORMATION FOR MAINE’S TOURISM INDUSTRY
Dear tourism partner,
Tourism to Maine is an economic engine. Total expenditures for tourism in 2019 were more than $6.49 billion and generated more than $647 million in tax revenue for the state of Maine.
COVID-19 is having a severe impact on the travel industry in Maine and globally. Because public health and safety is the top priority and social distancing is the only way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, non-essential businesses in Maine are temporarily closed. Many restaurants and bars are serving take-out and offering curbside pickup and/or delivery.
Here are other changes and some recommendations the Maine Office of Tourism would like to share:
- The Maine Office of Tourism has suspended its paid ad campaign which was to begin on March 23.
- We have closed the information portion of the state visitor information centers until further notice. The restrooms will remain open for travelers during this time. Signage will be posted in the centers directing people to the VisitMaine.com and MaineTourism.com websites for additional information. A supply of Maine Invites You travel planners and maps will be available in the hallways leading to the restrooms.
- The Office of Tourism will continue to stay engaged with people who love Maine through our social media channels to inspire them to travel to Maine when the time is right.
- During this time, we are navigating uncharted waters regarding messaging for your business or organization. It is challenging and changes quickly as the situation evolves.
- Because social media is such an integral piece of marketing tourist destinations, we have prepared this best practice document for your reference. Please keep in mind that as the situation evolves, so will this document. We will share updates as appropriate.
Best Practices for Social Media Posts:
- Refrain from promoting events or gatherings
- Showcase wide open spaces and individual or small group (less than 10 people) activities
- Let followers/fans know, either directly or indirectly, that you’re aware they aren’t traveling at this time, but you’ll continue to post to inspire them for when the time is right
- Avoid scheduling posts right now as much as possible, since the situation is changing rapidly
- Be ready to alter your social strategy quickly in response to the latest COVID-19 updates
- Continue to provide positive, helpful and aspirational content, while being sensitive about this fearful time of unknowns
- Think about ways your brand can provide value in a time where many people are anxious or isolated
- Refrain from advertising or blatant marketing
Tourism businesses and organizations are encouraged to send us your updates on any gift certificate or advance booking promotions or virtual tours that may be appropriate for us to share on our social media channels.
MOT’s PR program is continuing to respond to media leads, developing story ideas and fulfilling media requests for information, images and fact checking.
Since this is a rapidly evolving situation, we are closely monitoring updates from the federal and state CDC and recommendations from the Governor’s office.
We are also closely monitoring the latest updates from the U.S. Travel Association. That information can be found here.
Their website also has additional resources for you to use in your communications, including media talking points, fact sheets and more.
We are concerned for people all over the world who are affected by this health challenge, and we are hopeful for a swift resolution that keeps Maine residents as well as visitors to Maine safe and healthy.
- The Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention has these updates on the virus in Maine.
- The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development coronavirus resources page offers information on unemployment benefits and programs, leave laws, small-business loans and other programs that can help.
- The federal CDC provides these updates on the virus as well as a FAQ for travelers.
CDC COVID-19 website: coronavirus.gov