National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

Figure 5 Leisure and Hospitality Wage Change, 2019Q3 - 2020Q3

Sources: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) based on authors’ own calculations. The change in percentage is leisure and hospitality average weekly wage in 2020 Q3 minus 2019 Q3 divided by 2019 Q3 L&H average weekly wage. Missing data is due to non-disclosed counties. Discussion Even as the COVID-19 pandemic caused considerable economic difficulty nationwide, stark differences can be seen across the nation, with some counties benefiting from the shift in recreational activity away from higher density communities. In addition, anecdotal evidence and popular media articles (Guilford, 2020; Pohle, 2021) reveal the growing attraction of lower density, rural places. The challenge for Extension is, first, to appreciate the important role of this trend and the recreational sector more generally and, second, to help communities to take advantage of the increased demand for rural spaces while ensuring benefits are more widely distributed. With shifts in demand for tourism and hospitality industry employment, programming that prepares workforce participants and business owners may need to be re-distributed or expanded within a state. Efforts to engage community leaders in planning and destination development may also be required, including efforts to address housing supply, infrastructure limitations, and overuse in those communities experiencing new growth. Local Extension professionals may face new demand for such programming, and may require additional resources from their campuses, such as funding, connections with new research specialists, and expanded partnerships with industry. In states that have not yet invested in tourism and recreation programming, Extension service professionals may need to actively network with colleagues outside the state to build new expertise to serve their local

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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