Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has already changed consumers' willingness to travel, and the fallout will wreak havoc on hospitality workers and places that rely on tourism.

Why it matters: States like Hawaii and Nevada that depend on tourist dollars are seeing their economies upended with widespread unemployment and no relief in sight.

The big picture: A robust era for U.S. tourism has come to a previously unthinkable halt in just weeks. No one knows how long the upheaval will last, but economists expect tourism will look different once the country fully emerges from lockdown.

  • "I'm only really booking now for very advanced bookings," for late this year and next year, Bruce Fisher, who's owned travel agency Hawaii Aloha Travel for 20 years, tells Axios.
  • The unemployment rate in Hawaii has been lower than the national average in recent years. But Peter Fuleky, a professor at the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, projects the job picture will suffer in the state long after the rest of the U.S. economy recovers.
  • Already one-third of the workforce there has applied for jobless aid since the shutdown, among the worst in the nation.

In the long term, large numbers of workers may find their jobs in less demand. And states that are heavily tourist-dependent may try to pivot to other industries to make up crucial revenue shortfalls.

  • "Tourism is going to suffer across the board, no matter where you are," Fuleky says.
  • "It's not clear that since you lost your tourism job in Hawaii, now you're going to suddenly find a job in Florida, Vegas or another destination."
  • One tourist mecca — Orange County, Florida, home to Disney World — may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, per a forecast in the WSJ.

By the numbers: Tourism makes up 2.8% of the U.S. economy. Its presence is concentrated in certain states and counties that heavily rely on it.

  • Nevada, where the Vegas Strip is still shuttered, has seen 30% of its workforce flock to unemployment.
  • The Brookings Institution estimated the coronavirus recession would hit places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Maui the hardest.

Even for consumers willing to take a vacation, companies and states plan to purposely choke demand — by capping crowds — for safety reasons.

  • MGM Resorts said it plans to reopen with only 25% of its rooms available for booking; Caesars Palace will deactivate every other slot machine and allow half as many players at its blackjack tables.
  • Fisher, of Hawaii Aloha Travel, also operates a local tour bus company, which he says will go out of business once its support from a Paycheck Protection Program loan expires. "Are people really going to want to get on a tour bus with strangers?" Fisher asked.

Between the lines: Since 9/11, some tourism-dependent locations have been trying to diversify their sources of revenue, so far with seemingly little success.

  • In Hawaii, one of the most expensive places in the nation to live, Honolulu City Councilor Kymberly Pine told USA Today that she and other lawmakers have warned the state that it depends too much on tourism.
  • "We are going to need to prepare for a lot of people losing their homes, not being able to pay their rentals," Pyne told the paper.
  • In Orlando, Florida, a campaign launched in 2014 with the tagline "You don't know the half of it" sought to depict the city as more than just a tourism destination.
  • Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Forecasting, tells Axios he thinks the pandemic will make officials "double and triple their efforts in this regard."

What's ahead: Places that rely on tourists could be in for a slower recovery than those that don't.

  • Travel and hospitality "may be in for a longer and more painful contraction," Patrick Harker, president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, said this week.
  • "The knock-on effects to airlines, hotels and restaurants that cater to travelers could be severe and long lasting."
  • A possible silver lining: social distancing could lead to better experiences for visitors at local attractions because there will be “more room just for you," Fuleky says.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.