By Crystal Harrell
From May 3rd to the 9th, the nationally recognized Travel and Tourism Week stands as a way to celebrate the value travel holds for the country’s economy, businesses, and personal wellbeing by the U.S. population. While it might be difficult to quench the wanderlust cravings during the time of a COVID-19 quarantine, there are plenty virtual solutions that enable travel enthusiasts to partake in the spirit of travel without leaving the safety of their homes.
Tourism is an essential part of the country’s economy, generating trillions of dollars and supporting 9 million jobs in 2019. From a local perspective, travel and tourism supported 53,500 jobs and contributed $7.5 billion to the Coachella Valley economy last year alone. The Greater Palm Springs CVB is hosting a series of virtual events to help rally support for the tourism industry that will be crucial to the desert community’s recovery in post-pandemic society.
The guest speakers and topics of the CVB’s webinar series have included Cindy Novotny, a managing partner of Master Connection Associates who hosted a live webinar aimed at hospitality professionals about how pivoting can benefit them in the long run, and a Cinco de Mayo-themed virtual happy hour with fresh agave, live cocktail and appetizer demonstrations, and a round of trivia.
Future events will include a virtual town hall meeting, where those tuning in will hear from special guest Carolyn Beteta, President & CEO of Visit California, and the CVB as they discuss the local COVID-19 response and recovery efforts for the tourism community.
On May 7, the CVB will host Greater Together: Giving Back and Getting Involved at 2 p.m. where viewers can hear uplifting stories of giving back in the local tourism community, featuring the Coachella Valley nonprofits Lift to Rise, LifeStream, and FIND Food Bank talking about how the community can help during these difficult times. On May 8, a yoga session with a stretch, breath, and affirmation led by local instructor Shay Moraga will start at 9 a.m. to help viewers remember the importance of self-care and well-being during this socially distant time. Coachella Valley residents can RSVP for these virtual events at the Greater Palm Springs CVB’s website.
A virtual tour of the Greater Palm Springs area is also available courtesy of the CVB. Trek no further than your living room couch to experience a visually subversive peek at some trademark Coachella Valley attractions, such as climbing 2.5 miles into the air on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, or embark on a tour of the Sunnylands Center & Gardens to see a variety of plant life and modernist details. Learn how to create a signature dish or craft cocktail from one of the desert’s local chefs or mixologists, and drop in on a fitness or yoga class at a studio in other virtual travel options on the CVB website.
In addition to providing the public with virtual tours and seminars, the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation is collecting donations to support families in the tourism and hospitality industries facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Funds are distributed by local nonprofits Lift to Rise and United Way of the Desert through the Coachella Valley Economic Protection Plan and Support Fund. The goal of the Coachella Valley Economic Protection Plan is to connect residents with a wide range of existing resources while the Support Fund supports hospitality workers struggling with the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Those interested in donating can log on to the Greater Palm Springs CVB website and complete the “Donate by Check” or “Donate by Credit Card” form. All donations will be distributed by Lift to Rise and United Way of the Desert, and one hundred percent of funds raised go directly to local families in need.