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.



Greater Williamsburg’s tourism suppliers have been invited to participate in a summer promotion spearheaded by Visit Norfolk and Visit Virginia Beach. The campaign, “Together At Last”, will include a partnership with Bandwango, a deal-building engine to “dynamically curate and digitally deliver access [and discounts] to places and experiences for both visitors and locals to enjoy.”

This FREE opportunity will be featured on the At Last Pass website through Labor Day Weekend. Simply fill out this form and a Bandawango representative will follow up directly to get your offer set up.



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. 

Congress has passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill that prioritizes the protection and preservation of public lands. 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

The USTA launched a new webinar series focused on the recovery of the travel industry. Every Thursday at 12 p.m., the webinar focuses on the guidance, data, and traveler sentiment necessary to safely restore travel and tourism in the U.S. Access to upcoming and past webinars here.

The latest USTA webinar provided an in-depth overview for DMOs on what relief would be available under the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act., as well as how the travel industry will need to take the initiative to ensure these provisions remain in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation. Click here for more details.

The next webinar in the Assessing Recovery series will be held on Aug. 6 at 12 p.m. and will introduce USTA’s “Let's Go There” campaign. As reopening continues, confidence builds and the emotional connection to travel returns, the “Let’s Go There” campaign will look to inspire and motivate Americans to plan and book their next trip, when they’re ready. Register here before this Thursday.


USTA COVID-19 toolkit

U.S. Travel Association has created a COVID-19 toolkit, which includes the following helpful resources: 


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 Industry Blueprint for Revival

Restaurant industry losses are on track to top $240 billion by the end of 2020, more than any other industry. In response, the NRA presented the “Restaurant Industry Blueprint for Revival” to Congress which outlines significant changes that support restaurants of every size and operational model in communities across the country. This comprehensive policy and legislative plan calls for immediate action by the federal government to stabilize the industry in the short-term and set the foundation for long-term rebuilding.

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).  


National Retail Federation (NRF)

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. 



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:  8/04/20