By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read September 2020 — In the Peach State, and throughout the world, the coronavirus decimated the travel and hospitality industry. Though the tourism sector remains among the most embattled sectors of Georgia’s economy, data trending in the right direction coupled with recent developments in the airline industry and a new museum coming to the Atlanta area are reasons to celebrate in the midst of a bleak year for the sector.
Coming off a Super Bowl year in 2019, Atlanta, and the state of Georgia, was prepared to continue showing Southern hospitality to millions of tourists and guests. As of January, more than 500,000 people were employed in the hospitality sector across the state of Georgia, according the the U.S Bureau of Labor. But by April, as shelter in place measures and global travel restrictions were in full effect, the number of hospitality sector workers dropped precipitously to around 284,000 in a matter of weeks. According to the data, however, employment in the tourism sector has trended upward, month after month, since April, and currently over 420,000 Georgians are employed in the sector.
While the tourism data is promising, the top U.S. airlines are doing their part to increase consumer confidence in the face of the coronavirus. United, American and Atlanta-based Delta this week announced they would drop most change fees for good. Change fees have long been a steady revenue stream for the airlines at the expense of the customer experience. For Delta, flexibility and maintaining health standards has been a major priority during the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve said before that we need to approach flexibility differently than this industry has in the past, and today’s announcement builds on that promise to ensure we’re offering industry-leading flexibility, space and care to our customers,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a press release. “We want our customers to book and travel with peace of mind, knowing that we’ll continue evaluating our policies to maintain the high standard of flexibility they expect,” he said.
And while the tourism sector in Georgia sang the blues for the better part of this year, a new museum experience announcement will bring a much-needed change of tune to the region. The Grammy Foundation along with the Georgia Music Accord on Monday approved the Grammy Museum Experience in Atlanta. The Georgia Music Accord is exploring possible sites for the museum experience and locating funding sources, according to Saporta Report. The four pillars that will solidify the museum in Atlanta revolve around education, economic impact, workforce development and a celebration of Georgia’s musical heritage, according to the news outlet. Additionally, the museum reportedly is envisioned to have a scoring stage that would work on music scores for movies, TV shows and video gaming.