PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s rich tourism that attracts people from all over the world has been devastated. According to research company Tourism Economics, Philadelphia’s tourism industry has already lost $1 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The road to recovery for many parts of the area may be a long one.
Historical landmarks that attract tourists from around the world, like Constitution Hall and the Liberty Bell in Old City, are still closed.
Across the Delaware Valley, some 200,000 hospitality jobs have mostly been on pause since the pandemic. But in Chester County, Longwood Gardens is aiming for a comeback as early as next month.
“The Philadelphia region is America’s garden capital,” said Longwood Gardens executive director Paul Redman.
Inside Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, the technicolor of spring is still bursting with many flowers in bloom. However, for the first time in more than its 100-year history, there are no guests to enjoy it.
“I refer to it as the lost spring,” Redman said. “In a sense, it was a lost spring for a lot of people.”
Redman says many of the spring flowers and other plants that require a lot of care had to be removed.
“When we made that decision to have to send spring to the compost pile, it was very difficult because of the time and passion put into all the planning, but we knew we were not going to be able to open,” Redman explained.
The conservatory looks bare, fountains are dry and about 600 part-time workers in the garden, its restaurant and gift shop were furloughed. Redman, though, is hopeful the garden will be able to open sometime during the summer.
“We’re going full-steam ahead with our summer display, getting ready to get that installed in May after we’re confident we won’t have anymore freezes,” Redman said.
Redman says, fingers crossed, Longwood Gardens could reopen around Memorial Day, but it all depends on the coronavirus. In fact, it’s possible it may not reopen until August or September.