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Destination Cleveland refocuses priorities during COVID-19 conditions, announces budget reductions

The cutbacks includes the reduction of staff hours & staff furloughs.
Credit: Destination Cleveland
Destination Cleveland sign

CLEVELAND — Destination Cleveland announced on Friday it will refocus its travel and tourism priorities to better focus on priorities and operations during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as get ready to start back up after the current travel and tourism situation. 

The organization's main source of funding, which is the lodging occupancy tax, has produced less than 10% of what was originally estimated for 2020. This is due to the decline in travel and tourism to the area since the measures put in place to control the spread of COVID-19. 

Overall, a study by the U.S. Travel Association predicts a 34 percent decline in the industry and a loss of around $62 billion in federal, state and local taxes. While the the impact on Northeast Ohio will be significant, it still remains to be determined.

President & CEO David Gilbert said:

"With the sudden end of nearly all travel, hotel occupancy diminished to single digits, and we, along with so many of our peers around the country, are in an unprecedented situation. With the loss of our funding, we must now focus on new goals, the most important of which are organizational survival and compassion for our people. Acting now is necessary so that Destination Cleveland can emerge from this unprecedented time strong and ready to act."

In order to accomplish the new goals put in place, Destination Cleveland announced that through budget reduction efforts, they will be reducing staff hours as well as placing some employees in furlough. The reductions will go into effect starting Monday.

"While we’ve had to make extremely difficult decisions, we remain dedicated to supporting our team in any way we can," Gilbert added. "That is our top priority. Our goal is to bring our employees back as soon as the situation allows."

Destination Cleveland recently launched a COVID-19 Tourism Industry Tool Kit to aid local partners and businesses with resources. Updates and more on Destination Cleveland can be found on its website.

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