YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Visit York County recently held a webinar to discuss COVID-19 resources for its partners and what the future holds for businesses, recreation and tourism in York County.
According to CEO Billy Dunlap, Visit York County is putting together a marketing plan to welcome folks back to the county once it gets the all clear to open back up. He believes York County destinations will see a quicker turnaround because 90 percent of people drive into the county, York County is a premiere leisure travel destination and nature areas will be first to open up and sporting events are preparing with events which will come back quickly.
Financial resources available are the Small Business Association, Treasury Department Program and Cares Act Resources. Small Businesses can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. Learn more on the video above on how your business can get relief. Visit York County wants to be a resource for its partners and outside businesses that make it all happen.
As far as sports tourism, all events have been canceled or postponed in April. June and July events, like USA Volleyball, are still on. Visit York County talked on on limiting number of teams or spectators at sporting events to get tourism back on track. The concern is on event holders who bank on revenue from summer sporting events. Many of them are booking weekends in August and early fall.
Visit York County also plans to collaborate with Winthrop University on softball, baseball and volleyball events.
By the end, Visit York County staff says people will stay in the area and not be as inclined to internationally travel. The organization plans to focus on out recreation, farming, biking and drive-to places. The idea is to attract visits from Greenville, Columbia and Charlotte to enjoy available destination spots. VYC plans to use Facebook ads and emails to put together travel packs and continue to update its website with COVID-19 resources for travelers and at-home resources, including coloring pages, Arts Council activities, virtual programming, etc.
Berkeley Young with Young Strategies, believes we can get back to business in May and June, but it’s not coming back to full capacity.
Young says the travel industry is getting the worst of the virus. He looks at the importance of tourism, and how we should get back into it in a safe and responsible manner. He says maybe it’s inspiring single travel parties to start coming to the county, then building into groups. Nothing will start with big crowds.
Young relates the phases of the virus from start to finish to a race. He outlines actions taken, like stay-at-home orders and closures, and how to get back to normalcy- it starts with replacing fear with optimism and rebuilding responsbily. He says its about being creative and resourceful to get people back, not shutting down borders to visitors.
Young considers what groups can travel first and steps to recovery.