The sun is shining, the days are longer, and we are all excited to get outside and explore all of the beautiful places that make North Idaho so great! Did you know that the first week of May is National Travel and Tourism Week? National Travel and Tourism Week was first celebrated in May 1983, as President Ronald Reagan signed a Proclamation urging all citizens to observe the week. It is a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value that it holds for our economy, businesses and well-being.
This year National Travel and Tourism Week will recognized the “Power of Travel” and the industry’s role in bringing back our workforce and reconnecting America. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel and tourism industry was a significant contributor to the U.S. and Idaho state economy. Nationally, travel spending is down nearly $500 billion costing the economy $1.1 trillion. The state of Idaho fared better than many other states in the nation due to border states having tighter restrictions. In a normal year, Idaho’s $3.7 billion tourism industry employs more than 45,800 Idahoans and generates $475 million in local, state and federal tax revenues. This is equivalent to saving every Idaho household $740 in taxes annually.
At the time of writing this article, our neighbors across the border were given a two-week extension to remain in Stage 3 with the hopes of bringing positive COVID-19 cases down to the numbers required to remain in Stage 3. When this publishes they could be in Stage 2, meaning restaurants can only be at 25% capacity. Either way, all dining in the Spokane region is at limited capacity. The North Idaho food and beverage destinations have been busier than ever and with Spokane being partially opened and the tourism season kicking off, they will be even busier which is great for the owners but not without challenges. Some dining establishments are finding a hard time filling open positions, but they are working hard to provide good food and great service.
Please continue to support all of our food and beverage destinations, but be kind and patient when you dine out, really when you travel in general. The service industry has suffered a great deal through this pandemic and we all need to do our best to lift them up and support them where we can. When our neighbors open back up, support them too. We are in this together and “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
The Post Falls Chamber is excited to see things moving a positive direction for the health and welfare of our community and we were excited to have our Community Business Fair, it was a big success! We had 70 booths and almost 400 people in total attendance. The energy was high, and the networking was great! They are some fun new things in the works and we can’t wait to announce them when the time is right!
For now our next engagement opportunity is on May 26 with Coffee and Connections at the Chamber. Last month, we had a packed room to hear Jennifer Smock share detailed Real Estate Statistics. If you have something that you would like to educate our members on, feel free to contact us.
On June 8, we have our second CEO Speaker Series of the year. This will be an intimate lunch and conversation with Mark Fisher of Advanced Benefits. Learn Mark’s story and prepare to be inspired. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for future members. Go to www.postfallschamber.com to register.
June 15 is the Connect 4 Lunch sponsored by Kootenai County Fire and Rescue and it will be held at the beautiful Joe Doellefeld Training Center in Post Falls with Black Tie Catering providing the lunch. This is special Connect 4 Lunch is the River City Leadership Academy Graduation — we encourage our members and especially the RCLA Alumni to attend and support our newest graduates.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West
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Christina Petit is the president/CEO for the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce.