Sizing Up the Rural-Urban Travel Divide: Who’s Up and Who’s Down


The pandemic has been exhausting on journey. According to the U.S. Travel Association, it has induced $386 billion in cumulative losses, however the ache hasn’t been evenly distributed. Cities, that are largely reliant on enterprise and group journey, have suffered extra in comparison with rural and out of doors locations the place it’s simpler to satisfy social-distancing wants. That sense of security in additional house has tempted many leisure vacationers to enterprise out on trip.

Lodging outcomes attest to the urban-rural divide. Short-term leases have been hottest in distant slightly than metropolis locations this summer time. According to the lodge benchmarking analysts STR, Inc., city accommodations are worse off in comparison with lodging elsewhere, with occupancy down greater than half in August nationally in comparison with August 2019. As a consequence, high-profile metropolis accommodations, from the Hilton Times Square in New York City to the Luxe Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., have closed.

“Leisure travel has been the demand driver that has returned more quickly,” stated Patrick Mayock, the vice chairman of analysis and improvement at STR, noting that city accommodations “are more reliant on group and business travel.”

The rural-versus-urban contest for leisure vacationers continues to be a shedding sport for many contenders; for instance, rural locations contemplate being down 20 p.c an indication of relative well being.

Ever the chameleon, Las Vegas continues to develop its leisure appeal, even though the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that several casinos on the Strip were the leading sources of possible Covid-19 exposures this summer. At the end of the month, the new Circa Resort & Casino, with the city’s largest sports book spread across three stories, is expected to open. The new art and event space AREA15 recently opened, requiring free reservations to control capacity, for visitors to its art installations.

Another popular city for meetings and events, Miami has come a long way since April, when 85 percent of tourism disappeared. In addition to losing business travel, Miami suffered when the United States border was closed — the city is popular with South Americans, in particular — cruises were shut down and cases of Covid-19 spiked over the summer. Now, hotel sales are about half compared to last year, thanks to the uptick in leisure travel.

“A big part of our tourism recovery has been to ask people in our own backyard, people within Florida, to drive,” said Rolando Aedo, the chief operating officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The bureau’s marketing campaign has focused on the city’s outdoor attractions, which include three national parks within an hour’s drive of South Beach, uncrowded beaches on Key Biscayne and kayaking amid the mangroves of a river estuary. Dozens of hotels are offering “Work & Learn” packages that offer rooms as day-use offices with access to resort amenities such as pools.

Back in January, when Dallas resident Murphey Sears, 38, planned to mark her 10th wedding anniversary, she and her husband discussed going abroad, or to Hawaii. By July, the parents of four secured grandparent babysitters and settled on a two-night staycation at The Joule Dallas hotel downtown.

“We needed to get away not only to celebrate ourselves but also to find some rejuvenation,” said Ms. Sears, a nonprofit development officer. “We felt so far away, even though it was 15 minutes from our house.”

Once a weekend afterthought, staycations are now viewed as a lifeline for urban tourism as cities from Boston to Los Angeles are encouraging residents to travel responsibly by staying — and spending — locally.

Most of those who have taken a vacation since the pandemic chose rural over urban areas for their getaways. Signs point to this pattern of fleeing population centers continuing. In a recent survey, Destination Analysts found nearly 40 percent of respondents who planned to travel this fall planned to visit small towns or rural destinations.

From the Adirondacks to northern Wisconsin, tourism authorities reported business doubling this summer over last. Even so, few will make up for the months of shutdown.



Source link Nytimes.com

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