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California reopens for tourism business

California’s tourism economy has fully opened for business on Tuesday with the relaxation of remaining business capacity restrictions and other limitations related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gov. Newsom set Tuesday for the state’s total economic reopening following plunging case rates and vigorous efforts to vaccinate Californians. California still encourages visitors to get vaccinated and, in line with CDC regulations, wear face coverings in congested environments.

“For the first time since the pandemic began, visitors can now take in the full range of only-in-California, unforgettable vacation experiences,” said Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California. “California is a place that welcomes all people and all dreams, and the time to travel here is now.”

The Golden State has one of the nation’s best per capita case rates for both recent weeks and the lifetime of the pandemic and ranks in the top 20 states in vaccination rates.

“Californians have stepped up throughout the last 15 months – sacrificing for public health amid economic hardship for many,” said Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton and chair of the California Assembly’s Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media. “Make no mistake, the tourism industry is poised to roar back and reestablish itself as a reliable economic driver and job producer.”

Relaxing business guidance means:
• Hotels, restaurants, wineries, bars, live music venues, cardrooms, breweries, museums, zoos, retail centers, family entertainment centers and aquariums are open without capacity restrictions.
• All state and national parks and beaches are open.

Consumer research and advance booking data reflect a huge pent-up demand to plan vacations and travel. Research developed with Tourism Economics show full recovery of California’s tourism economy to 2019’s record levels of visitor spending, taxes generated and employment could take until 2024. But Californians themselves can ignite a robust comeback.

“All Californians have a stake in tourism’s rapid recovery, and all Californians can help accelerate it,” said Gene Zanger, Wwner of Casa de Fruta and incoming Chairman of the Visit California Board of Directors. “I encourage Californians to take their vacations in their home state this year to support their fellow Californians and the hotels, restaurants and other small businesses that employ them.”

“It is clear that people are ready to explore all that California has to offer. That is certainly the case in San Diego as visitors from around the state and the country are coming here to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with loved ones while making new memories,” said Visit California Board Member and San Diego Tourism Authority President & CEO, Julie Coker. “As we continue on our road to recovery, it is imperative that travelers continue to follow basic safety precautions so we can continue this positive momentum.”

California’s reopening comes as California legislators and Gov. Newsom finalise one-time stimulus funding for Visit California’s marketing programme. The funding, sparked by bills by Sen. Mike McGuire and Quirk-Silva, is designed to jumpstart the tourism economy and supplement the tourism industry-funded marketing program that declined during the pandemic.

“This stimulus funding will help get hard-working Californians safely back to work and the tourism sector reopened,” said McGuire. “It will be a massive shot in the arm to the Golden State’s economy and help thousands of tourism-based businesses in every corner of California open their doors, rehire tens of thousands of employees and put out the welcome mat to travelers.”

Next week, Visit California’s “Dreaming on in California” campaign will celebrate tourism’s recovery with a weeklong series of experiences across California for travelers who missed key milestones in 2020.

The experiences range from an epic meal prepared by acclaimed celebrity chef Curtis Stone, to behind-the-scenes access at a San Diego Padres game, a magical Disneyland Resort vacation, a luxury road trip with stops at Marriott International properties across the state, and a series of 10 fairytale weddings at the luxurious Carneros Resort and Spa.

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