‘Safecations’: Kentucky encourages safe in-state travel amid pandemic with new campaign

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky officials are launching a new tourism campaign aimed at safe in-state travel.

The “Stay Close, Go Far” marketing initiative reminds residents they don’t have to travel far to experience beauty, history and adventure. It encourages safe traveling during the coronavirus pandemic while emphasizing the importance of community connection.

“Our goal with this campaign is to generate a greater awareness of Kentucky as a safe and exciting destination to explore,” said Kentucky Department of Tourism Commissioner Mike Mangeot, adding that “even those who call the Bluegrass State home can find something new to discover.”

Travel: States, cities across the US promise to ‘wait for you’ after the coronavirus pandemic in tourism campaigns

The campaign will focus on outdoor recreation, dining and arts that are unique to Kentucky. Mangeot said the state has a variety of offerings, including mountains, bourbon distilleries, historic battlefields and horse farms, among other attractions.

This isn’t the first time states have promoted the idea of  “safecations.” Over the course of the pandemic, which is about to mark its six month next week, many tourism websites have teased the beauty of their respective locations while encouraging visitors to stay home.

For example, Alaska’s website featured a video showcasing glaciers and mountains and promises that “Alaska will wait, for you,” while Pennsylvania suggests visitors to experience the state from home.

“Pennsylvania artists, horticulturists, chefs, re-enactors, outdoorsmen, and musicians want to welcome you into their homes,” the Keystone state said on its website. “While we can’t do that literally, you can join us online for virtual visits.” New Jersey, too, told tourists it would bring the state to them.

State-by-state quarantine guide: These states require travelers to self-quarantine or present negative COVID-19 test

And it wasn’t not just states: Individual cities themselves reminded tourists to stay at home, saying that they’d be waiting to welcome them once conditions improved. “We’ll keep San Diego warm for you,” the southern California city promised. 

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that domestic travel spending will drop by 40%, from $927 billion in 2019 to $583 billion in 2020, because of the pandemic. That decline has tourism officials scrambling to salvage what they can.

Coronavirus upends tourism marketing: Pandmeic sparks idea of ‘safecations’

Contributing: David Oliver, USA TODAY

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