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Concerns about reduced customer traffic are widespread among businesses in the Wood River Valley, a recent survey by Sun Valley Economic Development shows, with a majority calling for destination marketing to bring visitors to the valley this summer.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the Blaine Recovery Committee, received responses from more than 120 local businesses.

Just over half of the responding businesses were in the retail, restaurant or lodging industries, with another quarter in the professional services sector and the remaining quarter in other industries.

Sixty-seven percent of responding businesses are operating “normally,” according to the survey results, while 17 percent operate with reduced space and another 15 percent with reduced hours.

Ninety-five percent of businesses said they are using safety and hygiene protocols.

A majority of businesses—61 percent—said they experienced a decrease in revenue in June this year compared to June 2019. Meanwhile, 23 per-cent experienced an increase in revenue compared to the previous year.

More than half of all businesses—55 percent—said they had concerns about reduced customer traffic, with about 4 in 10 businesses expressing concerns about reductions in air service. Half of the respondents said they expect a 15 percent or greater decline in revenue going forward this summer.

Six in 10 businesses said they felt destination marketing for this summer was “important,” with 34 percent describing it as a “critical need.” Seventy-five percent were in favor of marketing outreach to the Boise and Twin Falls markets, 66 percent supported marketing efforts directed at second-home owners and 61 percent supported outreach to markets in Utah, Washington and California.

Most of the respondents to the survey said they received support through the federal CARES act, with 60 percent receiving Payroll Protection Program loans and 14 percent receiving Emergency Injury Disaster Loans. Nearly 1 in 4 responding businesses had not yet requested any government support.

Going forward, the businesses said, they would prefer to see additional support in the form of tax relief (40 percent of respondents), access to additional capital (26 percent) and rent relief (20 percent).

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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