West Coast
Sondra Bernstein / Girl and the Fig restaurant

CA - Report: California Tourism Economy Cut in Half in 2020 Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

Proving to be an unwelcome visitor to travel economies like the North Bay, COVID-19 has slashed in half tourism spending in California.

Tourism spending is expected to plummet to $66.1 billion by the time Californians exit 2020. That’s a 54% drop from 2019’s high mark of $144.9 billion, which edged out 2018 by 3.2%, according to a Visit California report released by the state tourism bureau.

Recovery to reach pre-COVID-19 levels for the tourism economy is not expected until 2024, the report indicates. 2021 will see domestic travel return by 74%, while international visitor spending will just squeak by with 54% of 2019 figures.

“We’re not surprised. As far as tourism, this is what we’ve been hearing,” California Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Denise Davis said. “It’s sad. California is so beautiful, but this is our reality.”

The coronavirus reckoning for public health and the economy has prompted many North Bay leaders in the hospitality and leisure industries to retool, scale down, expand in the street and lobby lawmakers for help.

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