By GREGORY ZELLER //
Long Island’s top tourism agency is working hard to pep up lagging consumer confidence in the Age of Coronavirus.
Discover Long Island, self-billed as “the official destination marketing and management organization” of Long Island’s $6.1 billion tourism economy, has taken a number of proactive steps to keep consumers assured, even as COVID-19 effectively devours the 2020 summer tourism season.
Right at the top is the appointment of Michele Reed, a native Islander and board-certified family-medicine physician, as the organization’s first-ever “health & wellness ambassador.” In this newly created role, Reed – author of “Mentally Fit, Physically Strong: The Fit Doc’s Guide to Real Life, Real Fitness, Real Health” – will advise regional tourism-industry leaders on how visitors can safely enjoy Long Island’s many attractions, and how business leaders can market them as pandemic-friendly.
“Tourism is … critical to our region’s economic vitality,” the new ambassador noted. “We are lucky to live in a world-class destination that attracts visitors from around the globe and I look forward to working alongside Long Island’s tourism leaders to help instill business protocols and confidence in travelers and locals.”
Although Long Island is in Phase 4 of Albany’s New York Forward recovery plan, there’s still “an urgent need to help instill consumer confidence,” according to Discover Long Island, which in addition to appointing Reed has also launched Travel Confidently, a webpage designed to guide residents and visitors through business re-openings, travel advisories and other issues related to Island tourism.
Meanwhile, the organization’s BeSAFE Pledge campaign continues to reinforce safe and confident travel experiences through clear guidelines, business owner and guest “pledge certificates” and other visible and reassuring social measures.
The creation of a health & wellness ambassador and the appointment of Reed – owner of Rosedale private practice MS Family Medicine Health Care P.C. – to the position are further steps on Long Island’s road to economic recovery, according to Discover Long Island President and CEO Kristen Jarnagin.
“Long Island’s tourism and economic recovery hinge on reopening our businesses safely and rebuilding consumer confidence to ensure that residents and visitors feel comfortable in venturing out,” Jarnagin said in a statement. “Dr. Reed’s new role as our official health & wellness ambassador is an integral part of Discover Long Island’s ongoing recovery strategy that bridges the need to promote our tourism businesses and prioritize safety.
“We are grateful to have Dr. Reed’s medical expertise, lifestyle and wellness insight and personal passion for Long Island to assist our organization in guiding our region through this challenging time.”