California Tourism Receives $45 Million Marketing Boost

April 23, 2021 Updated: April 23, 2021

California’s travel industry has received a $45 million marketing injection thanks to a senate bill aimed at jump starting its tourism economy when it is deemed safe to travel.

While many cities across the state have been conducting their own enhanced marketing programs to stimulate local economies, the funds from the one-time appropriation will go directly to invigorate Visit California’s tourism marketing programs, in an attempt to assist with the economic recovery of the state’s pandemic-beleaguered tourism industry.

The Sacramento-based Visit California is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop and maintain marketing programs in partnership with the state’s travel industry.

Barb Newton, president and chief executive of the California Travel Association, said the funds will deliver more than $10 billion in resulting visitor spending throughout the state, and help restore hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“In 2019, California’s tourism industry generated $145 billion in visitor spending, employed 1.2 million people and brought in $12.2 billion in state and local taxes to support public services,” Newton said in a statement. “The pandemic reduced those numbers by more than half in 2020.

“Leisure and hospitality has by far been the hardest hit workforce segment in California. And hundreds of cities that rely on hotel taxes to provide services to all residents have seen revenue declines, some approaching 60 percent. California’s world-class gateway regions—Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County—have been especially affected as business meetings and conventions stopped and theme parks shuttered.”

The funding is a result of Senate Bill 285, introduced in February by state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Sillva (D-Fullerton).

According to Newton, visitation spending from other countries, amounting to more than $28.3 billion, have dried up since the pandemic. She said the stimulus being provided will allow Visit California to expand its industry-funded promotions in an attempt to inspire Californians to travel responsibly and rediscover the state.

“We’re hoping that the Visit California campaign will inspire vacationers to rediscover the wonders of California, which in turn will enable struggling hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses to return to solvency, replenish their payrolls and support local governments.”