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57Hours Survey Exposes Impact of COVID-19 on the Outdoor Guiding Industry

June 23, 2020

57Hours, a leading booking service for outdoor guides, surveyed 100+ active mountain guides on how their businesses have been affected by the pandemic. Here’s what they found.

57Hours, the company that connects individuals with certified guides for outdoor adventures, recently compiled the results of a survey of independent mountain guides to explore the effects of COVID-19 on the outdoor guiding industry. 109 independent guides responded, and the results paint a grim picture for the near future of the outdoor guiding industry. Overwhelming sentiment indicated that fear from would-be clients may prevent guides from getting back to work long after other small businesses have reopened.

92% of guides surveyed facilitated their last guided trip in February or March 2020, meaning they have been out of work for nearly two months. IFMGA and AMGA guide Rob Coppolillo says "Here in Europe, we were forbidden to work, so that decision was made for us. Guides in the U.S., though, face more uncertainty with the varying local and state restrictions. Most guides have accounted for this by taking the conservative route and ceasing all operations. As businesses reopen, some guide services continue to put their services on hold while others are pushing to get back in the field. It's a tough situation." This abrupt halt in guided travel resulted in a financial blow to many. Most respondents indicated they have already lost 75-100% of their guiding income in 2020. While emergency government funds have created financial buffers for other groups of freelance professionals, less than half of guides surveyed had successfully applied for a PPP loan at the time of the survey.