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Quad-City tourism officials confident in local recovery after COVID-19
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Quad-City tourism officials confident in local recovery after COVID-19

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Local hotel occupancy was cut in half for Quad-City operators in March.

That is just one stat to show the economic impact of the sudden halt to daily life because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, hosted a web conference call Thursday to give an overview of what the destination management and marketing organization is doing during the shutdown.

And while a slew of local events, from sporting events to concerts and everything in-between, have been canceled and/or postponed, Herrell is confident of an economic rebound for the travel and tourism industry.

“It’s not a safe time to travel, but rest assured it will be. Travel will rebound, we know this to be true and Visit Quad Cities will be prepared when it does. I think our focus has been being a good community resource at this time,” Herrell said.

The travel and tourism industry has suffered a $1.2 trillion economic loss, Herrell said Thursday citing info from the U.S. Travel Association. He did not provide statistics on the Quad-Cities specifically, other than saying the normal mid-50 percentile rate of hotel occupancy was cut in half for the month of March.

“I think that this really paints a picture of how dire the travel industry has been in, and will continue to be in the near future, but hopefully soon we’ll start to come out of this and start to get some stimulus in the economy,” he said.

Work continues by Resonance Consultancy on the master tourism plan for the Quad-Cities region, and that game plan will be publicly revealed in the near future. That plan has not been affected by COVID-19, Herrell has said.

Visit Quad-Cities is also launching a new website next week to coincide with national travel and tourism week. Local officials say it will host a comprehensive event calendar for the region and tell the story of the Quad-Cities, among other new functions.

Earlier this year, Visit Quad Cities and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce highlighted the economic impact of the three local minor league sports teams. COVID-19 led to the Quad City Storm not finishing their season, the Quad City Steamwheelers only played one game before its league shut down operations this season due to coronavirus and it remains to be seen when, and if, the Quad Cities River Bandits will play in Davenport this year.

The loss of those games impacts the local economy and quality of life for local residents.

“It’s a loss,” Herrell said.

“We’re hopeful that the River Bandits will have a season at Modern Woodmen Park, but we’re not sure where that stands … we know it’s a fluid situation and we’re hopeful that they do have a season.”

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