McGuire, along with broad based bipartisan coalition, introduces bill to get tourism industry back to work

$45 million one-time funding will get hundreds of thousands of Californians back to work and hospitality businesses opened safely

Monday, February 1, 2021

Sacramento, CA – California’s travel and hospitality industry is one of the largest economic drivers for the state. Before COVID-19, more than 1.2 million California workers earned their livelihoods in hospitality, and visitors spent $145 billion annually at California businesses, generating $12.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. 

The coronavirus has had an especially devastating impact on California’s travel and tourism industry. Since last March, more than half of those 1.2 million hospitality workers lost their jobs, California lost $78.8 billion in visitor spending, and thousands of businesses have struggled to keep their doors open, even if only virtually.

That’s why, since the first statewide shelter-in-place last spring, Senator McGuire has been working with a broad coalition of advocates— including labor, tourism, hospitality, and local chambers of commerce – to address the incredible challenges they are facing and help get over 600,000 hard-working hospitality employees back to work safely and strategically.

Today, Senator Mike McGuire and co-author Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, introduced SB 285, which would provide $45 million to Visit California to launch a strategic media and jobs recovery campaign to drive in-state travel to the businesses that have been hit so hard – our state’s renowned restaurants, hotels, and local destinations. Visit California will multiply the value of the appropriation through newspapers and broadcast media, which have agreed to match the funds from the state.

“We all know the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of so many Californians – some of the hardest hit are those 600,000 employees who lost their hospitality jobs. While we see light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine, we must set our sights on rebuilding our economy and supporting those who need it most. This strategic infusion of funds will help get hundreds of thousands of Californians back to work and hospitality-based businesses opened safely,” Senator McGuire said.

This campaign, which would be launched when the California Department of Public Health declares it is appropriate to resume travel, would emphasize that it is safe to travel and how to travel safely. This current proposal is modeled after a previous action by the State of California following the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

“As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media, I am proud to be co-authoring this legislation with Senator McGuire,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “I represent a district that hosts some of the prominent attractions that contribute significantly to our local and state economy, such as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm and have seen the devastating domino effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our tourism industry. We need to establish a safe and responsible pathway to recovering one of the largest drivers of our state’s economy and more importantly, getting more than 600,000 Californians back to work.”

Senator McGuire and Assemblymember Quirk-Silva have worked closely with a coalition of tourism industry advocates on this important next step. 

“COVID-19 has hit the travel and tourism industry harder than any other. Prioritizing a one-time allocation to Visit California will ensure we stay competitive with other destinations once travel resumes, get workers back to their jobs, breathe life into our small businesses and communities, and ultimately help jump start a quick recovery of our economy,” said Barb Newton, President and CEO California Travel Association.

“Broadcasters across the state applaud the efforts of Senator McGuire and California Travel Association to jump-start the recovery of countless local businesses impacted by the downturn in travel and hospitality. Our 1,000 plus Radio and TV members in local communities serving all of California are ready to help encourage safe travel and speed the economic recovery of these vital small businesses,” said Joe Berry, President/CEO California Broadcasters Association.

“Sen. McGuire’s proposal is spot on,” said Charles F. Champion II, CEO of the California’s News Publishers Association (CNPA). “It gives a much-needed boost to the state’s devastated hospitality industry; and for newspapers, particularly those that serve ethnic communities, it is a prospective lifeline of advertising revenue that will help preserve community news at time when it is most needed.”

“The Teamsters represent thousands of California workers in tourism and hospitality who have been devastated by the pandemic.  Our members in theme parks, rental car agencies, airlines, hotels, and countless other related industries have seen jobs, health benefits, and pensions reduced and eliminated. We applaud Senator McGuire’s effort to jump start the recovery to make California once again a world class travel destination,” said Rome Aloise, International Vice President and Joint Council 7 President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

With SB 285, the $45 million, one-time appropriation is projected to deliver $10.3 billion in revenue to California businesses and $865 million in additional state and local tax revenue. 

The bill is co-authored by Senators Allen, Bradford, Cortese, Dahle, Dodd, Hurtado, Laird, Nielsen and Assemblymembers Bloom, Bigelow, Chiu, Cunningham, Davies, Christina Garcia, Grayson, Mullin, Nazarian, Santiago, Valladares, and Wood.

This bi-partisan bill is supported by: UNITE HERE!, California Travel Association, California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, California Broadcast Association, California News Publishers Association, among many others.