The last few weeks have been unprecedented for all of us as our day-to-day routines have been put on pause to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In addition to the overwhelming health and social consequences, it is having a major impact on our economy, and particularly the travel and hospitality industry.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the travel industry will suffer $809 billion in total economic loss and there will be 4.6 million Americans unemployed within the industry. This has a trickle-down effect as well, as less taxes will be received from communities that rely on visitors to help fund essential services. All told, the impact to the travel industry is estimated to be more than six times the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Currently, the U.S. Congress is considering a comprehensive economic package designed to provide direct relief to the travel industry. It is important that you take two very important actions today. Not tomorrow, not next week – today! Click here to tell your story to Congress, and why the travel industry is important. You can make a difference.

Locally, you can also make a difference by supporting local restaurants by ordering take-out or delivery. This keeps responsible social distancing and helps keep them afloat during these troubling times. While still using safe practices for social gatherings, buy locally to support the grocers and shopkeepers. These are the people who supported local charities and non-profits, sponsored Little League and hockey teams and donated to school trips. Now, they need our support more than ever.

The travel industry is resilient, and our community is resilient. Our first priority is stopping and preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Once we as a society have accomplished that goal and it is safe to travel once again, we will be ready to greet our visitors with open arms and show them the beauty of the Mat-Su Valley and Alaska.We are all in this together.