In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.

On July 27, 2020, in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in North America, Discover Long Island announced that Dr. Michele C. Reed, a Long Island native and board certified family medicine physician, would step up as the organization’s Official Health & Wellness Ambassador.

In this newly created role, Reed would act as an advisor on health- and safety-related protocols to tourism industry leaders, provide safe travel tips to visitors and share her recommendations on how to enjoy Long Island’s tourism attractions and vast outdoor experiences.

A forward thinking proposition indeed.

“Monday night was the first night ... that I was like, 'I can really take a deep breath. And it doesn't feel tight.' I mean, I went from running three marathons -- New York City twice, Chicago once -- to barely being able to run two miles. So it's a gradual process.”

– Dr. Michele Reed on her personal experience with COVID-19

It is no surprise that innovator and trailblazer CEO Kristen Jarnagin of Discover Long Island was behind the initiative.

In that same press release, Kristen wrote:

“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.

“Long Island’s tourism and economic recovery hinges on re-opening our businesses safely and rebuilding consumer confidence to ensure that residents and visitors feel comfortable in venturing out. 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.”

I personally had the great pleasure of interviewing Kristen and Michele together for Destination International’s Advocacy Summit in 2020, and I am really pleased to have had this follow-up conversation about Long Island, tourism, community engagement, health and safety and hope. 

So... welcome to this Future of Tourism Podcast special episode, “Back to the Beach" with Kristen Jarnigan and Dr. Michele Reed.

Photo by niladri mishra on Unsplash