Tourism officials monitor potential impact of Coronavirus
Feb 12, 2020, 7:59 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 9:21 am
(Chinese leaders speaking with medical workers. Credit: Li Tao, Xinhua via Associated Press)
SALT LAKE CITY – Brace for the impact of Coronavirus. That’s what the Utah Office of Tourism is doing as they study how bad the Coronavirus will impact tourists coming from China to the Beehive State.
Imagine if you were a business owner and your second-largest source of customers stopped coming to your shop. That’s potentially the problem Utah tourism officials are facing if Chinese tourists don’t come to this state because of the virus.
“In 2018, China was our second-largest international visitor market behind Canada,” says Utah Office of Tourism Spokesperson Anna Loughridge.
That year, over 83 thousand tourists came from China. For now, Loughridge says it’s too early to tell just how big the negative impact will be. However, she’s certain it will be negative.
“We do assume there will be an impact on tour operator businesses like there will be in similar US destinations,” Loughridge says. “We expect it will take a few months before we understand what the impact will be.”
Attracting visitors from China is a big investment for the Office of Tourism. Creative Content Manager Andrew Gillman says they spend over a quarter-million dollars in advertising there. They have representatives on the ground in China keeping a close eye on what’s happening.
Gillman says, “They’re, really, our closest contacts on the ground to keep us informed with the latest developments on the Coronavirus.”