Industry Updates




Visit Williamsburg has added a COVID-19 section for you to quickly click and add information to your profile page on the website. New fields have been added to the website's business listing data engine, allowing for an improved ability to communicate new safety measures/operating procedures. Once businesses make an update, those items will be shared with consumers via the landing page and the business listing itself. The landing page will launch next week. Click here for more information.



Visit America Act

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee advanced the Visit America Act which seeks to strengthen domestic tourism by creating a new role in the Department of Commerce to elevate the attention and coordination paid to the tourism industry. It would also require the development and implementation of a strategy to assist the travel industry to more quickly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the bill.

The Let's Go There Coalition launched an industrywide recovery campaign on September 8. This campaign aims to reignite Americans' sense of wanderlust and inspire them to look ahead to—and start planning for—their next trip.

The Coalition released the first set of toolkit resources, available at no cost, for the entire industry to use. Two versions are available:

  • Let’s Go There: This version can be used by those brands, businesses, and organizations who are ready to market and promote planning and booking to travelers
  • Let’s Go There, Soon: This iteration is a full complement to the Let’s Go There campaign that can be used by destinations, organizations, and businesses who are more restricted in how they promote travel and are instead focused on providing inspiration for future planning

The USTA has released guidelines for ‘Travel in the New Normal’ to promote the health and safety of all travelers as the country reopens from lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance is designed for all aspects of the travel industry and builds upon, and aligns with, the White House and CDC guidelines for "Opening Up America Again."  

Resources are now available for "Travel Confidently," USTA’s consumer-facing campaign to rebuild travel and tourism focusing on the health and safety measures the industry is collectively taking to restore American's confidence in traveling again. New summer-themed social graphics emphasizing the importance of masks and the role travelers play in protecting themselves and others are now available for download. 

The Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill that prioritizes the protection and preservation of public lands was signed into law August 5. Notably, the legislation secures much-needed funds to help address the deferred maintenance backlog facing the National Park Service—a high priority for USTA.  

Weekly Webinar Series

USTA hosts a weekly webinar series focused on the recovery of the travel industry. The webinars focus on guidance, data, and traveler sentiment; access to upcoming and past webinars can be viewed here.

The latest webinar in the Assessing Recovery series was presented by the USTA government relations team focusing on how to navigate the process of obtaining Coronavirus Relief Funds. Click here to access the webinar slides.

USTA Toolkits

USTA has created U.S. Travel Toolkits that provide industry resources spanning a variety of critical topics to help the travel community with recovery efforts.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Toolkit for Domestic Travelers to help travelers protect themselves, their families, and their communities when traveling. Much of this information is in line with USTA's Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of All Travelers, released earlier this month.


The AHLA released a “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” that outlines how to travel safely while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide. This checklist is part of AHLA’s “Safe Stay” guidelines, an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. 

Safe Stay” is AHLA's ongoing initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. Working with public health experts, scientists, and doctors, The Safe Stay Advisory Council is developing enhanced cleaning and safety standards and best practices for the hotel and lodging industry. For more information and the latest updates, visit here.  

The AHLA is expanding its “Safe Stay” initiative with a new online course developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute to help hotels train their staff on enhanced safety and cleanliness guidelines.  

Hospitality for Hope 

More than 17,000 hotels located near medical facilities throughout the nation are offering housing to health care workers and first responders battling the coronavirus outbreak. To learn more about Hospitality for Hope, visit here. Hotels interested in joining the initiative are encouraged to volunteer via this link.  


Restaurant Reopening Guidance

As state and local governments consider reopening their economies in response to COVID-19, the NRA has drafted guidance for restaurants, captured from best practices from the Food and Drug Administration, academia, and the public health sector, to help state governments align with opening plans and reassure the public that social gathering for a meal is, again, a safe activity.

Restaurant Industry Blueprint for Recovery

The National Restaurant Association announced to Congress a multi-pronged “Blueprint for Recovery” plan for restaurants, which calls for a $240 billion federal recovery fund to give restaurants a fighting chance to survive what is expected to be a prolonged recovery. 


The USBG National Charity Foundation, committed to advance the lifelong stability and wellbeing of service industry professionals through education and charitable activities, is offering emergency grants for bartenders, their spouses, or their children through the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (BEAP).  


The NRF has released Operation Open Doors, guidance for retailers on reopening stores in the aftermath of an international health crisis. Areas for guidance on gradual reopening include logistics, social distancing, and safety issues, as well as how to bring employees back to the workforce. Operation Open Doors resources will be available to the public for a limited time before becoming members-only resources.


TSA announced its new “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign ahead of the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend. The campaign is intended to share new checkpoint guidance and highlight changes to the security process to improve health and safety for both travelers and TSA workers.


Destinations International, a definitive resource for professional development and destination management, offers weekly coronavirus webinars featuring experts presenting the latest industry trends and insights.


VRLTA, a unified voice for restaurant, lodging, travel, and hospitality suppliers associations are providing up-to-date news and factual information about COVID-19 and its impact on the travel and hospitality industries.  

Virginia Restaurant Promise

VRLTA, Virginia Department of Health, localities, and restaurants have partnered to develop the Virginia Restaurant Promise, a set of commitments to employees and customers. 

Reopening guidance requires restaurants to post signage detailing efforts to keep patrons and staff safe and healthy. VRLTA created the Virginia Restaurant Promise poster that you can download, print out, and post.  Updated posters reflecting Phase 2 changes can be downloaded by clicking on each listed size here:  8.5 x 11" or 11 x 17" or 22 x 28".

With the success of Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers Takeout Week, the initiative will be moving forward every Tuesday as Takeout Tuesday! Use the hashtags #TakeoutTuesdayVA and #VirginiaEatsLocal to promote via social media. 


TripAdvisor released findings from its Seasonal Travel Index for fall, providing travelers with insight into where Americans are traveling as tourism markets continue their path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to support area businesses, TripAdvisor has enabled opening and closing notifications on listings within its platform. These notifications can be manually customized through TripAdvisor’s management center. Business owners can now add their own safety measures and sanitization procedures on the site, allowing travelers to filter destination searches based on safety and sanitation.

TripAdvisor has launched the first of several initiatives to provide immediate economic support to local communities, enabling diners and travelers to assist in the long-term recovery of travel and hospitality businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemicIt is now easier to purchase gift cards and identity restaurants that are still open for takeout and delivery on the platform. Gift card purchases, in particular, serve as much needed microloans to help operators pay rent, continue to pay employees, and fund benefits like healthcare, as well as other critical expenses. To learn more about TripAdvisor’s worldwide initiatives, click here


Visit Williamsburg recommends following guidance from the CDC regarding travel within the United States. Please click here for more information.


Last Updated:  9/18/20