USTOA, Arival surveys show layoffs imminent in tours sector

Metropolitan Museum of Art tour group
A tour group at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo Credit: Raymond Deleon/

The U.S. Tour Operators Association is calling on members to lobby to be included in a Covid-19 economic stimulus package, noting that a recent survey shows more than half of its members anticipate layoffs.

Likewise, the Arival group representing day tour operators and activities providers called on Google and Facebook to offer advertising credits to its members.

USTOA on Wednesday sent its members a form letter urging them to fill in their company information and send it to their representatives in Washington with a plea for support for small businesses.

“During a recent USTOA survey, one of USTOA’s members reported cancellations of over 50 percent and potential layoffs of between 60 and 75 percent,” the letter says. “From that same survey, of the 25 respondents, which consist of both active and associate members, 16 indicated that they are considering some level of layoffs. Lastly, every single respondent of the recent survey indicated that their company is experiencing some level of cancellation due to Covid‐19. These are huge levels of economic impact that are troublesome to me and my colleagues.”

Arival CEO Douglas Quinby called on Facebook and Google to carry forward advertising credit to help companies that offer day tours, activities and attractions survive the crisis. 

“Google and Facebook have become incredibly important partners to the travel industry worldwide,” Quinby said. “They have profited handsomely from the risk-taking of these enterprises over the past decade. Now it’s time for them to step up and pay it forward by crediting the accounts of these at-risk advertisers.” 

Arival estimates there are one million tour, activity and attraction operators worldwide. 

Arival said its survey of nearly 600 of those operators conducted between March 9 and 13 showed that 28% are at risk of business failure within three months,  46% are at risk of failure if travel does not begin to recover within six months, 37% of total 2020 bookings have been canceled, 73% of operators report a decline in 2020 bookings and the average decline is 52%.“These numbers show an industry in trauma -- and it’s only going to get worse,” said Quinby.

Correction: Arival did not survey businesses about layoffs.


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