Travel restrictions and social distancing requirements have left many local businesses closed, with some staying shut through the spring offseason. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association expects that the impact will last into summer and the cancellation of Aspen Ideas Festival and the Food & Wine Classic will deal a blow to the summer economy.
A 2010 study by the chamber found that Food & Wine accounts for a $3 million economic impact to the city. Debbie Braun, CEO of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, said the impact from Ideas Fest is “probably much greater.”
“That leaves a pretty big hole for our June occupancy,” Braun said. “That is the kickoff to summer. Once people start traveling again, many might not have the disposable income they once had. So we have to anticipate softer numbers.”
The economic impact of coronavirus will extend beyond the tourism industry. Braun said nonprofits, planning and construction companies, and the real estate industry will likely be hit hard, and that nobody is immune.
“Many of these small businesses won't make it out,” Braun said. “It's going to change the landscape and the dynamic of Aspen for years to come.”
Once restrictions are lifted and people have the opportunity to travel, it may be harder for the chamber to attract them to Aspen. Braun said this year’s destination marketing fund, which was originally budgeted at $2.3 million, will be reduced by about 40%.
For businesses struck by closures, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association has a business recovery toolbox on its website.