Visit California Coronavirus Update

May 01, 2020
Visit California Coronavirus Update

Dear Industry Partners,

If this was a normal year, what has become an annual celebration would be at hand, just days before the beginning of California Tourism Month and National Travel and Tourism Week.
 
Visit California and all its partners take pride in a decade of vibrant growth, as measured by visitor spending, growing employment and tax revenue generated.
 
But you need only read the latest California-specific projections from Tourism Economics for the unfortunate reality. In just a few weeks, the coronavirus outbreak erased that growth: $72 billion in losses in visitor spending projected in 2020 and 613,000 employees out of work in May alone.
 
That’s roughly half of tourism revenue and employment originally forecast for this year.
 
These struggles must not blunt the spirit of California tourism in the coming weeks or beyond. This industry still has great stories to tell, not only about fulfilling travel dreams, but about employing Californians, growing businesses and helping state and local governments provide vital services. Travel and tourism will help lead the economic recovery once businesses start re-opening.
 
That 10 years of growth had become the California norm: Visitor spending, employment and tax revenue were all up in 2019, according to the 2019 California Travel Impacts report from Dean Runyan Associates. Tourism-related tax revenue from visitors in 2019 amounted to $920 in savings for each California household. The full economic impact report will be posted and made public at 8 a.m. on May 4. It will include economic impact breakdowns by county and region.
 
Tourism creates jobs at a rate higher than many other sectors. From 2010 to 2016, travel employment grew by 17 percent, versus 13 percent in the rest of the private sector. Tourism job growth averaged 3.2 percent a year over the decade.
 
Tourism is one of the most resilient economic sectors. The travel industry recovered from the Great Recession two years faster than the rest of the economy.

California’s communities rely on tourism to fund their way of life. Transient Occupancy Taxes pay for local services across the state, and in many cases comprise a significant percentage of general government and public safety spending.
 
Californians can support our own economic recovery -- we’ve done it before. Shopping local, traveling in-state and supporting community businesses will be an important first step to economic recovery as stay-at-home orders are lifted. 
 
California Tourism Month in May presents the perfect opportunity to convey the relevance of this industry to residents and decision-makers across the state. We need their help to reverse these losses and get tourism positioned to begin another 10 years of growth, and I encourage you to join Visit California in this effort.
 
Check out Visit California’s California Tourism Month toolkit, including social media posts and talking points for this unprecedented year. A sample press release will be added soon.
 
National Travel and Tourism Week begins Sunday, May 3. In keeping with the times, this year’s theme is the Spirit of Travel in recognition of the industry’s strength, selflessness and resiliency. Here is U.S. Travel’s #SpiritOfTravel toolkit.
 
Please let me know if there’s anything else Visit California can do to help you commemorate California Tourism Month or National Travel and Tourism Week.
 
And as always, thank you for your support and resilience during this time.

Dream Big!

Caroline Beteta
President & CEO
Visit California

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