One third of tourism jobs still gone during recession

As summer comes to a close, Maine’s tourism industry is still recovering from the damage done by Donald Trump’s failed coronavirus response. From his intentional downplaying of the severity of the virus, to his refusal to listen to experts, to his failure to get a deal done to expand unemployment insurance, no Maine industry has been hit as hard as tourism by Trump’s botched attempts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

Maine’s tourism industry powers our state, bringing in $6.2 billion in 2018 alone, and employing up to 70,000 Mainers before the pandemic. By April, after the first wave of the virus had spread around the country despite Trump’s misleading attempts to downplay it, that number was down to 29,000. While it has rebounded somewhat since then, more than a third of those 70,000 jobs are still gone. Maine’s losses are reflected around the country, with the U.S. expected to lose more tourism revenue than any other country in the world, and four out of every 10 hotel workers nationwide still out of work.

Even as the tourism industry crumbles in Maine and around the country, Trump has done little to help despite insisting, without evidence, that the economy was surging back. He has refused to come to the table to negotiate the expansion of unemployment benefits, which expired two months ago, leaving thousands of tourism workers around the country out in the cold. 

“Donald Trump’s complete failure to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak has been devastating for the tens of thousands of unemployed Mainers in our tourism industry,” said Maine Democratic Party Executive Director Lisa Roberts. “Trump allowed the virus to become widespread by refusing to listen to experts and intentionally downplaying its severity, and now has let months pass by without any real attempt to expand benefits to tourism workers who have lost their jobs. For the sake of Maine’s tourism industry, we must elect Joe Biden in November, because he will listen to science, not hunches, and has a plan to get our economy going again.”