Just a few short months ago, tourism destinations like ours were gearing up for their spring and summer travel seasons. Staffs were being trained, reservations were being taken, excitement was building.
Then the pandemic hit and put plans on indefinite hold. Suddenly, the sentiment shifted from “We can’t wait to visit this summer!” to “Will we be able to visit this summer?”
Indiana is currently lifting and easing some of its travel restrictions in a phased approach. And local tourism businesses are starting to plan for their season openings… a season that might look a little bit different from years past, of course.
We’re seeing the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. And it has us wondering what lessons our tourism community has learned from these last few months.
Tourism Lessons from a Pandemic
We asked our tourism partners to share the lessons they’ve learned that they will take with them moving forward. And we received a range of answers…
“We will all have a new appreciation for travel once we are able to reopen and guests are able to return. We are hopeful that this new spirit will stay in our hearts and on our minds as our visitors return. This renewed spirit will hopefully stay with us much longer than this health crisis.” —Carrie Berg, Santa’s Lodge
“I have learned not to take things and people for granted anymore, so when our doors reopen our customers will know how much their support means to us!” —Heather Osborne, Santa Claus Christmas Store
“We learn something new almost on a daily basis, so we have to have the ability to adapt. And that ability to be flexible is going to be what helps us overcome this.” —Marc Steczyk, Lincoln Amphitheatre
“Local tourism businesses have banded together to discuss how to not just survive this pandemic, but how to rebound and thrive in the future. We all depend on each other to come out of this crisis. Together, as a community, we will succeed.” —Natalie Koch King, Santa Claus Museum & Village; Spencer County Visitors Bureau Board Member
“This crisis has affected everyone, and we strive to sanitize every toy with every order.” —Mark Schmidt, Santa’s TOYS
“The proper use of PPE, the proper cleaning and disinfecting of public areas and hard surfaces, proper social distancing practices, and many other things recommended by the CDC are being incorporated to not only protect our guests, but our valuable team members as well. We cannot wait to see our visitors return!” —Dave Lovell, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort
“Lessons learned: to not take anything for granted. Not your small businesses, not your community, not your friends, and certainly not your faith in God.” —Kelly Jones, Santa’s Stables
“Plan ahead for a great visit: Practice social distancing at all times, for your safety and the safety of others… keep your group size small… bring your own drinking water and hand sanitizer… if parking lot is full, move to another location.” —Cheyenne Knox, Lincoln State Park
Looking Forward to Your Visit
There’s no doubt that this year’s travel season will look very different, both for our local tourism businesses and for visitors like you. But if we stay positive, stay smart, and stay safe, we can all help create lasting vacation memories!