OPINION: The Travel Industry Needs Relief

OPINION: The Travel Industry Needs Relief

By B.A. Little with Sarah Stahl, Director of Tourism, Mountain Lakes
Chamber of Commerce

Travel and tourism are an integral part of the Jackson County economy, encompassing more than 50 local businesses and a workforce of roughly 802. The unprecedented public health crisis we’re facing right now has grounded travel to a halt and put the businesses and workers who rely on visitor spending in peril.

The Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce exists to promote business and leisure travel to visitors from around the country and the world, and those visits fuel the local economy and jobs. The travel industry businesses that contribute so much to our community, most of them small businesses, simply cannot weather this storm on their own.

Washington is being called on to establish a fund to keep workers employed, provide emergency liquidity for travel businesses to remain open, and bulk up the Small Business Administration loan program. Congress must act today to ensure that our local travel industry and its hundreds of employees can sustain themselves through this painful economic period.

As the leading tourism organization in Jackson County, Mountain
Lakes Chamber of Commerce has compiled a business resource page full of
linkable relief sources, best practices as well as state and congressional
updates. All are accessible directly from the homepage of our website under the “Our Community Commitment in Light of COVID-19” news alert. 

As the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce continues to work with
partners to connect local businesses with vital recourse, we are reminded that these uncharted waters, and their things we can do as a community to pull together and mitigate fallout. 

Currently, many of our local businesses are having to make hard
decisions about workforce reduction, operations, and payroll. Please be aware that these decisions don’t come easy and they are made to help limit the number of workers being affected by something that is out of their control. In a lot of cases, these businesses have supported your clubs, organizations, events and the community for years. It’s time we answer their call and stand by their side. 

Although the effect on our economy is yet to be seen, Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce will continue to work diligently with all our
business partners to ensure we maintain our integrity, professionalism and
understanding towards our fellow residents.