Coronavirus Florida: How will tourism recover in Sarasota-Manatee?

Coronavirus Florida: How will tourism recover in Sarasota-Manatee?

Laura Finaldi Staff Writer Visitors bureaus have plans for how to encourage people to safely return to the area’s beaches, restaurants and cultural landmarks once it’s safe to do so. Sporting events with a limited audience. Three-course meals from the comfort of a hotel room or a dining room table. Nights out at the theater where everyone is wearing masks. Those are just some of the images that could be common in Sarasota-Manatee once the tourism industry resumes following a prolonged closure to get the state’s and region’s coronavirus infections under control. An economy that usually relies on a steady stream of visitors from Canada, western Europe and other parts of the South — especially during the wintertime — has come to a complete halt because of COVID-19. #apolloLink{color:#000;background-color:#F4BE11;text-shadow: none;padding: 8px 15px 10px;font-family: ‘Roboto’, sans-serif;font-weight: 600;border-radius:10px;} See our complete coverage of the coronavirus outbreak But now, the Sarasota and Manatee visitors bureaus are ready to implement their plans for how to encourage people to safely return to the area’s beaches, restaurants and cultural landmarks, if that’s something they’re comfortable doing. Research by Visit Sarasota County and the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel found that the top desire among reliable visitors to Florida once it’s safe to travel is to take a relaxing, low-key beach vacation. That bodes well for Southwest Florida, said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County. Still, people aren’t quite ready to travel, she said — any visitors who will likely come to the area probably won’t be comfortable doing so until late summer. With that in mind, the first phase of Visit Sarasota County’s recovery plan will be on getting locals back to restaurants and in public places. She said there’s plenty of demand for staycations within Sarasota County. “We think the opportunity is […]

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