Vermont tourism takes hit as officials tell visitors to keep their distance

Local News

Tourism is a big part of Vermont’s economy but state leaders are still asking visitors to keep their distance.

More than 5 million people typically travel to Vermont during the summer months. That won’t be the case this year as the state slowly and gradually reopens.

“It’s a huge part of what drives the Vermont economy,” said Heather Pelham, Commissioner of tourism and marketing. “It provides economic activity to all parts of the state but that also means it really impacts every part of the state, too.”

Pelham said out of state visitors bring in nearly $200 million in lodging and another $155 million in restaurant sales. This summer will undoubtedly look different, as Gov. Phil Scott says now is not the time for people to visit Vermont.

“We would normally welcome you with open arms,” Gov. Scott said. “At this time, we’re asking you to keep your distance.”

“Businesses rely really on the May to October season to make money,” said Tom Torti, president of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He says the Vermont City Marathon which typically kicks off summer is postponed, and a number of other events that draw in visitors to Lake Champlain are up in the air.

“People flock here from not only all over the country but from all over the world,” Torti said. “We see visitors from Europe, from the Middle East, coming to Burlington. It has such a reputation.”

Torti says now they’re encouraging Vermonters to visit different parts of the state, and eventually will reach out to states less impacted by the virus.Pelham agrees that Vermonters can still enjoy a number of the states attractions safely.

“We know Vermonters play a big role in the economy and supporting businesses any time of year and this summer will be no different for that,” she said.

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