The California State Legislature designated May as California Tourism Month in recognition of the industry’s role as the state’s economic engine. In past years, tourism organizations have used this spotlight to remind legislators and communities of the industry’s central role in California’s economy. Now — facing a near-total pause on travel — we’re asking you to embrace #CATourism as a rallying cry for the millions impacted by a catastrophic loss of jobs and revenue.
Before the pandemic, concerted statewide marketing and hard work fueled a decade of uninterrupted year-over-year growth. This prosperity benefitted all Californians: the 1.2 million working in the industry and the many more who count on indirect spending and tax revenue driven by tourism spending.
California’s booming tourism industry now faces a severe downturn. To put some numbers to the potential loss, Independent research firm Oxford Economics estimates California will lose $72 billion in visitor spending this year alone. State and local governments will lose $6.1 billion in tax revenues that fund vital local services like police, fire and public health and safety.
However, the tourism industry can overcome the obstacles posed by the pandemic and lead the way out of this economic crisis. Following the Great Recession, the industry catalyzed the state’s recovery from economic crisis. We were quick to recover, employed multiple times more individuals than most industries, and drove indirect spending throughout the state.
There are small things everyone can do right now, from shopping local to sharing messages of support with those who are out of work. At the state level, a modest government investment has the potential to save billions in assistance spending and get millions of Californians back to work.
And we’re asking everyone to spread the word on social media. Amplify your pro- tourism message throughout the month with #CATourism, and from May 3-9 join in U.S. Travel’s National Tourism Week with an additional #SpiritOfTravel tag.