My View | Patricia Washington: Honoring the spirit of travel

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Patricia Washington (Courtesy Photo)
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Each year, during the first week of May, we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, a time to reflect on the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal wellbeing. Never has there been a year in which we are more grateful for this important sector of our economy.

This unprecedented global pandemic has brought unfathomable challenges. Though the timing of recovery is unknown, we know that the spirit of travel – the desire to expand our worldview by stepping outside of our neighborhood, our state and our country – will remain.

The travel sector is a vital part of Alexandria’s economy. During this week, we extend our appreciation to the stars of hospitality who make Alexandria a top-rated destination. Because of the novel coronavirus, many businesses have been forced to close. Restaurants and retailers have adapted with creative offerings and a determination to forge ahead. Many of our frontline hospitality workers have been furloughed and are facing financial hardships alongside millions of other Americans.

This week let’s support Alexandria’s small businesses, businesses whose existence, entrepreneurship and energy make Alexandria the outstanding city it is. You can find more than 200 ways to support local businesses and view special offers from restaurants, boutiques and more at ALXatHome.com. For those who are able, consider donating to ACT for Alexandria’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which supports tourism and hospitality workers.

While we wait for this public health crisis to end, I also invite you to reflect on the ways travel has enriched your life. Share a photo or a story with us on social media by using #SpiritofTravel and #visitALX.

Let’s dream about a future when we are able to once again visit loved ones who live far away, create memories with our families as we enjoy annual traditions and discover new parts of the world and ourselves.

The writer is president & CEO of Visit Alexandria.

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