COVID-19 pandemic expected to be hard on P.E.I.'s tourism industry
Season expected to be shorter, quieter
The Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island says the mood among its members is grim as the province shuts down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CEO Kevin Mouflier said TIAPEI has been surveying its members since the start of the outbreak, and getting a lot of worried responses.
"As a tourism business, we're terrified," one operator responded, said Mouflier.
"At the moment we're not even able to interview for part-time positions because of the fear."
Tourism operators expect the season to be shorter, and they believe Islanders will also not be eating out as much. Businesses are shutting down as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison asked Wednesday that all non-essential businesses close.
"We hope that they all will reopen but there definitely will be some that do not," said Mouflier.
TIAPEI has been in contact with sister associations across the country to determine how tourism operators can access emergency assistance funds being offered by the federal and provincial governments.
Without knowing when shutdowns will end it is very difficult to plan, Mouflier said.
He said P.E.I. will be well-positioned to market itself as a safe destination when people are being told it is OK to move around again. It has access to a significant market that can reach the Island by road — for those still nervous about public transit, such as airplanes — and its streets and beaches are not as crowded as some other destinations.
The industry will have to be ready to plan very quickly once restrictions start to lift, Mouflier said.
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With files from Island Morning