$95 million shot in the arm for California’s Tourism & Hospitality Industry

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Quirk-Silva released the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s announcement that the state will invest $95 million to fund SB 285, pending final budget approval, which will get California’s tourism economy back up and running – an initiative that Senator McGuire has championed for the past year and a half.

“California’s tourism economy, $145 billion strong in 2019, cratered during the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of hospitality workers were unemployed and state and local governments took a $6.6 billion hit due to lost taxes. We’ve been working for over a year with CalTravel on a recovery plan to help get hard working Californians safely back to work and the tourism sector reopened in partnership with the California Department of Public Health,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “The Governor’s announcement this morning 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. We look forward to getting this funding proposal across the budget finish line in the coming weeks.”

Senator McGuire worked in partnership with Assemblymember Quirk-Silva and a broad-based coalition on SB 285 over the past year and a half making today’s $95 million announcement a reality, including CalTravel (representing California’s tourism and hospitality sectors), California Teamsters Public Affairs Council (representing thousands of hotel and hospitality workers), California News Publishers Association (representing California newspapers) and the California Broadcasters Association (representing California’s TV and radio stations).

“I have advocated to assist our tourism attractions, such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knott’s Berry Farm to return back to business, as we have seen a significant impact these theme parks have for our surrounding local businesses,” said Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. “As the State continues to work towards reopening, many of our tourism attractions are facing significant deficits. With many of them working on plans for reopening to the public, this one-time stimulus funding, that would double the initial requested amount of $45 million will help accelerate our tourism industry return and help get Californians back to work.”

This critical campaign, in consultation with the California Department of Public Health, will emphasize when it is safe to travel and how to travel safely.

The boost will deliver more than $10.3 billion in revenue to California businesses and nearly $1 billion in additional state and local tax revenue.

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. SB 285, now included in this year’s proposed budget, provides funding to Visit California to launch a strategic media and jobs recovery campaign to promote California travel to support 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.