Upgrade your browser - Unfortunately, this site has updated features that cannot run on this version of Internet Explorer. Download a free upgrade of Internet Explorer.
Man with surfboard walking on beach edge, ocean horizon in background.
Newsroom Detail Page Back To Newsroom

California Tourism Month Drives Support for a Recovering Industry

By Dan Smith 06/04/2021

This year, California Tourism Month provided an essential platform to champion a resurgent tourism industry and celebrate the “Power of Possibility” of travel and tourism in a reopening California. In recognition of the importance of this observance, California Senate approved SCR 46 on May 20, reaffirming May as California Tourism Month and urging citizens "to support tourism and local businesses by traveling in state as an act of civic pride."

This year’s celebration of the industry had added urgency as the California Assembly and Senate weighed the considerable funding for tourism marketing in the state budget.

Live from an Iconic Convention Center
Visit California kicked off this official state celebration of California’s economic engine with a press conference from San Francisco’s Moscone Center. At an opening press conference on May 4, President & CEO Caroline Beteta released a more upbeat Economic Travel Forecast that showed a shortened recovery timeline for the industry. She also announced Visit California’s “Dreaming On” contest, which would award entrants who’d missed special occasions with only-in-California re-dos including Napa weddings, San Diego Padres family reunions, luxury Marriott hotel stays and magical Disneyland vacations.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis at California Tourism Month Press Conference

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and San Francisco Travel Association President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro joined her to address continuing challenges facing the industry and its workers while also encouraging Californians to support their tourism industry by taking vacations in the Golden State.

The conference resulted in 160 media placements receiving 44.8 million impressions.

Seeking Support for a Devastated Workforce
While this year’s California Tourism Month was by and large a celebratory occasion, the impact of COVID-19 on California’s 1.2 million tourism workers could not be overlooked. To put a human face on the 600,000 jobs lost at the height of the pandemic, Visit California produced a video interview series of tourism workers still contending with workplace challenges and loss of employment.

Celebrating the labor of California hotel frontline workers

The ongoing worker shortage is perhaps the greatest impediment to the tourism industry’s recovery. These widely shared videos illuminate for legislators and key opinion leaders that support is needed to accelerate the recovery of one of California’s single largest sources of employment.

Industry Partners Remind California That Travel Matters

California Tourism Month social media graphic
Visit California distributed media toolkits and county-level economic reports to help destinations communicate tourism’s economic importance to public officials and the media. Talking points and collateral reinforced several key Tourism Month messages:

  1. New projections hold promise for a California tourism recovery.
  2. The industry’s workforce needs help to rebuild.
  3. Californians can aid recovery by traveling in-state.

Many California destinations received positive media coverage through these outreach efforts. The California Hotel & Lodging Association also published an effective Tourism Month piece.

Visit California further bolstered the industry’s outreach by sending 500 customized emails to legislators and key staff that showed the economic impact of tourism losses by legislative district. These emails also highlighted the staggering job losses by district to underscore how severely the travel and tourism restrictions have impacted their constituents.

Related Article