Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, GANYC acted as a leader in the US tourism industry in its proactive work on behalf of its membership. We were the first association to begin tracking tourism cancellations, collating the economic data to show the media and local and national political officials the devastating economic impact our members have suffered as one of the city's top industries shut down. We helped other organizations in lobbying to ensure freelance workers were included in federal relief laws. Our monthly meetings moved online, and have featured guest speakers who provided insight on how our guides can survive this crisis. We also have planned professional development programs on virtual touring, and other ways to help our members adjust to a changing market. And we have provided information, updates, and humor through a temporary 2020 e-newsletter, The Virgil.
GANYC is also a proud Allied Organization member of the NYC & Company Coalition for NYC Hospitality & Tourism Recovery.
We actively work to help our members prepare for a return to work, in cooperation with all New York State protocols and regulations. The focal point of this effort is Tour Your Own City-- a portal site and marketing campaign aimed at New York-area residents looking for fun staycation adventures. The goal of Tour Your Own City is to empower the recovery for tour guides, and to encourage hyperlocal explorations that will benefit communities and small businesses across the city.
Our own Healthy & Safety Taskforce also worked with government and health officials to ensure this is all done in the safest manner possible.
See the following page for our full guidelines: Health and Safety Guidelines
Here is a further roundup of our COVID-era activities:
Archives of our regular e-newsletter can be found: HERE.
In this temporary 2020 e-newsletter, we had provided some humor and relief, but most importantly kept our contacts updated on topics such as: economic aid, tracking the updated data from tourism cancellations, continuing educational opportunities available to guides, stories of how our members became guides, news of loss and survival, and more.
- Issue 1: March 23
- Issue 2: March 30
- Issue 3: April 6
- Issue 4: April 13
- Issue 5: April 20
- Issue 6: April 27
- Issue 7: May 4
- Issue 8: May 11
- Issue 9: May 18
- Issue 10: May 25
- Issue 11: June 1
- Issue 12: June 8
- Issue 13: June 15
- Issue 14: June 22
- Issue 15: June 29
- Issue 16: July 13
- Issue 17: July 27
- Issue 18: August 10
- Issue 19: August 24
- Issue 20: September 7
- Issue 21: September 21
- Issue 22: October 5
- Issue 23: November 2
- Issue 24: December 7
GANYC Media Outreach
GANYC and its members have been featured in the following outlets:
- Crain's NY: Coronavirus fears squeeze Broadway
- NY1 (March 10): City Tourism Dips Due to Coronavirus Spread
- Politico: Hotel occupancy rates plummet as coronavirus decimates tourism trade
- Wall Street Journal: Fed Takes Emergency Steps as Virus Pushes Economy Toward Recession
- WFUV: Bleak Times for NYC Tour Guides
- WFUV, March 19:
- PIX11 News: Canceled events hurt tourism, hospitality industries
- AP: NYC tour guide makes ends meet after layoff
- AP: New jobless hope seeds of tourism can be resown in Big Apple
- WFUV: Tour Guides Idled By Pandemic
- WNYC: GANYC President Emma Guest-Consales was on WNYC's "All Of It With Alison Stewart" to discuss how GANYC is working to provide staycation options for area residents. Skip to 7:00 in the "Summer in Place: Staycation Tips" segment of that episode.
- ABC7: Tour guides hard-hit by pandemic offer a glimpse into the future post-COVID-19
- Red Hook Star-Revue: New York City's Hidden Gems
- News12: Group of NYC tour guides raises concerns as state lifts domestic traveler quarantine rules
Prior to preparing our guides for the ongoing return to in-person touring, we helped our membership dive into the world on virtual tours and experiences.
Professional Development Programs
On Thursday, April 23 2020, GANYC’s Education Committee organized an informative Professional Development Program (PDP) featuring Kelsey Tonner, founder and Lead Trainer of Be a Better Guide and its Online Tourism Academy. Tonner introduced the “Virtual Tour Business” online modular program he and his team developed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also fielded members’ questions about issues related to Virtual Tourism.
Then, on April 29 2020, we offered our follow-up PDP. This half featured three GANYC members-- Megan Marod, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Wilcox-- who've created different kinds of virtual content. The PDP discussed the process and best practices for this new type of tourism experience... along with more Q&A. The goal was to provide members with a hands-on discussion to demystify the new world of virtual tourism experiences.
On May 26 2020, we offered a PDP hosted by TripSchool's Mitch Bach, entitled "Not Just Docs, The Hidden Power Tools of Google for Tour Guides". This offering took members beyond the basics and looked at the many other free tools Google offers, and how they can help tour guides. Discussed were apps like My Maps, Sites, Photos, Forms, Poly, and Earth and how they can be used effectively both behind the scenes for tour research, as a way to enhance our guests’ tour experience both online and in-person, and also for business marketing and promotion.
In late Summer 2020, we offered a 3-part PDP series on marketing, hosted by Jennifer Ackerson, president of ALON Marketing Group. She is a 25+ year veteran of the tourism industry based in New York State with direct experience working with all tourism business categories. Jennifer has an excellent understanding of tourism, the travel trade, and the visitor dynamic resulting in successful strategic tourism business development for both individual tourism businesses and destinations. Sessions included "Elevate Your Tourism Marketing" and "Marketing to the Travel Trade".
And GANYC’s Certification Committee offered two online Storytelling Workshops that utilized a Learning Management System that promises to expand ways in which GANYC can nurture and promote professional skills.
Members have access to recordings of these PDPs in our members-only digital library.
GANYC has always held a membership meeting the first Wednesday of every month, open to the public, at sites of interest around the city. During the first months of the crisis, we moved these meetings onto Zoom. In addition to GANYC business, these first meetings featured guest speakers to discuss industry concerns, address our immediate economic needs, dealing with mental health, and more.