As California’s economy reopens, tourism can lead the way – Orange County Register


On June 15, the Californian tourist economy will emerge at full speed from a setback 11 times worse than the consequences of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Make no mistake, the Golden State’s tourism industry is roaring, poised to reclaim lost tourism market share to other states and re-establish itself as a reliable economic engine and creator of business. jobs.

All Californians have a stake in its speedy recovery, and all Californians can help speed it up.

California’s travel and hospitality industry must rebound quickly to restore hundreds of thousands of jobs and lead the restoration of the Golden State economy.

That’s why I’ve been a major co-author of Senator Mike McGuire’s efforts to provide stimulus funding for Visit California’s tourism marketing program. Complementing the millions that the tourism industry spends on marketing, California has run after 9/11, especially as other states are spending to steal our market share.

Visit California’s latest forecast compiled in partnership with Tourism Economics shows a pandemic recovery that could take up to four more years.

Californians can support a faster economic recovery timeline with an act of modern patriotism. They can take their home country vacation this summer and fall to support fellow Californians and the small businesses that employ them.

I know they can do it because they already have. Californians have stepped up throughout this pandemic – sacrificing themselves for public health amid economic hardship for many. The result? For more than a month, California has had the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in the country. It is among the 15 best performing states across the pandemic.

When it became clear last fall that California’s tourism industry was losing ground to other states, I convened the Assembly Committee on the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, tourism and Internet media to get the facts. Visitor spending and generated taxes halved after a record 2019 reported $ 145 billion in visitor spending. That’s about three times the size of the state’s agricultural economy and more than Apple’s annual worldwide iPhone sales.

Theme parks and meeting places have been blocked without state health guidelines to even plan to reopen. The area around the 65th Assembly District that I represent in Orange County – which is home to iconic theme parks and a vibrant convention and meeting center – has been shattered. Hotel tax collections in Anaheim are down nearly 90% from the last full year before the pandemic.

Over 100,000 Orange County residents, including 15,000 of my constituents, lost their recreation and hospitality jobs in 2020. The travel and hospitality workforce was by far the industry. hardest hit jobs across the state: 600,000 lost their jobs a month after the lockdown.

As California has started to rebound, jobs are coming back. The leisure and hospitality industry is leading the way, but hundreds of thousands of people still cannot return to work for various reasons.

The legislature rose to the challenge – urging the theme park to reopen and advice on business meetings, and now teaming up with Governor Newsom to provide marketing boost dollars.

Our constituents can help too. Plan a road trip in good condition. Visit our urban centers to discover their fantastic arts scene and nightlife. Rediscover all of the best destinations and experiences we Californians love about our state. Maybe even go to Disneyland.

It’s the most important thing we can do to celebrate California’s reopening and jumpstart its economy.

Sharon Quirk-Silva represents Assembly District 65 of Orange County and chairs the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media.

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