Vermont tourism revenues down but improving

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 6:07 PM EDT
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WOODSTOCK, Vt. (WCAX) - New revenue numbers give a more detailed look at the impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry in Vermont.

The holiday weekend traditionally marks the unofficial end to the fall foliage season. But this year is anything but traditional.

“It might be a little bit better than we anticipated but it’s nowhere near where it was last year,” said Isabelle Chicoine.

She has owned the Woodstocker Inn for about three years. Profits dropped significantly this past summer and fall, but the workload for the B&B has increased. Employees obligate to inform travelers of Vermont’s 14-day quarantine rules.

“Well the thing is they are booking then we have to check where they are coming from and we have to call them and we have to make sure they are aware of all the restrictions and the precautions,” Chicoine said.

According to Vermont rooms and meals tax data, for this July and August, the state took in roughly $15.7 million. Last year, for those same months, it was about $25.5 million, which means revenues were down more than 38%. That is actually a drastic improvement from March through June when much of the state’s hospitality sector came to a screeching halt. Fall revenue numbers appear to be heading in the direction as well.

“We are down about 20%,” said Sam DiNatale, owner of the Mon Vert Café. There was a consistent line outside the Mon Vert Café in Woodstock Monday.

Owners there are already thinking about the winter ski season.

“We are going to start with just takeout and see how things go but luckily we have a lot of people who like our food,” she said.

“It’s been a really successful couple of weeks,” said Beth Finlayson of the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce.

Business officials say that’s despite the fact that restrictions are still in place for many typical fall travelers.

“Considering we don’t have people from Canada, Europeans or bus tours, and as you can see it is packed,” Finlayson said.

Rohan Das is up from Boston.

“We were staying in Stowe and we were just day-tripping here in Woodstock,” Das said.

Tourists like Das, who was just up for the weekend, are required to quarantine for 14 days in their home state before coming to Vermont.

He says he realizes that in order for anyone to appreciate what the region has to offer, everyone must do their part.

“We try to maintain 6 feet, mask on, and when possible, just do our research to make sure it’s not going to be as crowded as we think it is going to be,” Das said.

State tourism officials say as long as the weather remains good, there is still plenty of time to get out and support local businesses throughout the region.

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