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How is COVID-19 expected to impact tourism in Idaho?

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - With COVID-19 cases continuing to grow around the world, the Idaho Travel Council is coming up ways to combat its impact.

“So we're working with our lodging partners around the state when we hear about those cancellations to make sure that we can give some extra promotion in that area, so they can fill those beds back up,” said Idaho Tourism manager, Diane Norton.

The Idaho Travel Council uses a grant to help business owners grow tourism in the state. Norton says the tax-funded marketing programs are essential for the growth of local tourist attractions.

“This is really important because these dollars these tourism tax collection dollars fund our tourism marketing program statewide, but also infuse money into our smaller communities around the state of Idaho, so they can promote themselves as a tourism destination as well,” Norton said.

As of Tuesday, there are no COVID-19 cases in Idaho, but businesses like Salt Lake Express are already seeing the virus impact their bookings.

Kathy Pope, sales and marketing manager for the transportation company tells us 60-70% of their charter bookings usually come from people from Asia, but many of these groups have already canceled.

Luckily, nationwide visitors have picked up the reservations.

“Because we've marketed nationally, as well as internationally, that has served well as this Corona virus has entered the United States and starts to spread,” said Salt Lake Express sales and marketing manager, Kathy Pope.

The popular form of transportation to Idaho helps COVID-19 not be a big concern for most visitors, according to Lonnie Allen, representative for the Idaho State Travel Council.

“A lot of people drive to Idaho, we get a lot of visitors from Washington, Oregon, Utah. Doesn't necessarily create flights here. I know that the airline industry is kind of struggling a little,” Allen said.

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Jilliana Colina

Jilliana is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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