BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The tourism industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which for a local tour guide, business isn’t so great. But instead of sitting around, he took his talents online.
Chris Riehl loves Baltimore. He even wrote some of his favorite city sites into a swinging song.
“This is such a special city,” he said. “There are so many incredible stories about what has happened here historically. We have more monuments and memorials per capita than any other city in the country. But really, it’s the people.”
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It’s a city Riehl loves to share. So In 2007, he bought a business — Baltimore Rent-A-Tour — that lets him show off his hometown to those visiting.
“It was great, we were expanding, we were really welcoming a lot of guests,” Riehl said. “It was really awesome, and really rocking and rolling until recently.”
After the pandemic brought the tourism industry to a halt, Riehl took his talents online.
“So I do virtual tours from my basement, I host virtual trivia, I’ve done interviews and things like that,” he said. “Just trying to stay engaged as best I can.”
Admittedly, these videos aren’t paying the bills just yet. But he’s confident the city, and its tourism industry, will bounce back.
“We are very confident that, as soon as it’s safe and responsible, we’re going to bounce back very quickly because people are busting to get out.”
“Once we can get people here initially, then they’re sold and they’re gonna want to come back,” he added.
Riehl, who is also the President of the Baltimore Tourism Association, is working to secure funding to help businesses stay afloat amid the pandemic.