There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of news coverage for the Obamas’ first major vacation. As the family relaxes in Martha’s Vineyard – a high-profile resort and recreational area in Massachusetts – some of the state’s biggest tourism-based companies are hoping that the visit is a public one. Struck down by the economic crisis and reeling from slow recovery, the state’s tourism industry is hurting.
It’s a problem that is surprisingly common throughout the United States. While the country is fairly well known for its vacation-domestically manifesto, tourism earnings appear to be down throughout the entire country. While there are pockets of surprising resistance to the downturn – Florida is now reporting stable hotel occupancy rates – many of the United States’ biggest tourism spots are down.
The reason is fairly obvious: consumer spending is low due to limited budgets and an even greater level of pressure to find a stable income. With unemployment at record high levels across many of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, the thought of vacationing just isn’t entering anyone’s mind.
However, some of Massachusetts’ largest businesses plan to turn that around. While the President has been slightly reserved around the cameras over the past week, the state plans to turn his visit into a rallying point for its tourism industry. Massachusetts typically experiences steady tourism figures throughout the winter, with its picturesque scenery attracting families from the Northeast.
Some of those involved in the state’s tourism industry are sceptical that the President’s visit will set off a surge of like-minded travellers. With secret service agents and other security personnel based in Martha’s Vineyard, the state’s relaxing image may not fare too well. For employment’s sake, we hope that the promotional efforts result in success for the state’s many troubled businesses.