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Locals and travelers impact San Diego's tourism industry

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Posted at 5:06 PM, Jun 06, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The beaches are fuller and hotels are hosting more travelers.

"Tourism has definitely been on the road to recovery. We're seeing really good performance as we head into the summer months," said "Kerri Kapich, COO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

The San Diego Tourism Authority explained tourism isn't back to pre-pandemic levels yet but it's seen air travel pick up and hotel booking in the seventy percentile range.

The better performance is positively impacting businesses like Eco Boat Rentals in Point Loma.

"I would say May was the busiest May for us for these last three years," said Kate Fedorova.

Kate Fedorova opened her business in 2020.

A trend she explained she is noticing is more 'staycation'ers.

"Around 50 percent are just the local people from San Diego. Thirty percent are people from out of state. We do have a lot of visitors from Utah, Nevada, Texas, Arizona and Washington State. Around 20 percent is people who come from Orange County, Los Angeles, Temecula," she said.

A recent Bankrate survey shows that 69 percent of adults who say they will vacation may make some changes to those plans due to inflation.

Twenty-five percent say they will take fewer trips while another 25 percent say they will travel shorter distances.

She said it's important to keep prices affordable for her customers.

"I know what people want to do something, they want to go outside and it's important to spend some quality time with your family and you can do some exercise also," she said.

Overall the Tourism Authority explained things are looking up.

"For memorial day weekend, we were the top hotel market in the western part of the U.S. [and] top five in the country and that's been consistent throughout the pandemic," said Kapich.

"So, we're very fortunate that people do see San Diego for what it is- a beautiful place."

The boost to the industry means more jobs for San Diegans.

"We're down about two percent in terms of employment prior to the pandemic," said Kapich.

The industry is still falling short in international and business travel.

The Tourism Authority does not expect levels to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 or 2024.