One year ago, everything changed as we knew it – the way we lived, the way we worked, the way our kids were educated. Everything stopped, and for a time in the summer of 2020, our industry was frozen in time. By April 2020, Nevada, the U.S. hub of gaming, trade show conventions, live entertainment and tourism, had reported a shocking loss of 1.1 million jobs –33%. In our industry across the U.S., closures resulted in job losses from a high in February 2020 of 16.9 million to just 8.6 million a month later. Our industry was hurt badly, maybe the worst of any industry as a result of the pandemic. Although we all thought at the time that closing indoor activities was the right and safe thing to do, throughout 2020 nothing much improved to get them back open. However, one bright spot that emerged was in the area of technology in a meaningful way, and new terms such as “touchless,” “curbside,” and “digital payments” became important to getting the travel and leisure industry back up and running. Although, it was slow at first because state-by-state regulations did not make it fast or easy.
Many cities and industries were hit hard with closures throughout 2020. These were cities that hosted conventions – like New York, Chicago and Las Vegas to name a few. But other cities such as Orlando and Anaheim/LA also hosted major tourist attractions so the impact was far greater. At the time of writing this article, Disneyland California was still closed, but looking to do a soft opening in April 2021.