SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV)- San Diego hotel and motel owners are optimistic about the summer travel season.
On Monday, the boardwalk in Pacific Beach was busy and packed with visitors, including Kenzie Delehanty and Morgan Wilson from Oklahoma.
"We're trying to make the most out of it because the pandemic made us realize we have to take advantage of the time we have for free, that's why we're here we're trying to make the most out of it," said Delehanty.
Not everyone is willing to travel though. The Ocean Park Inn has been a fixture on the boardwalk for 30 years. The owner of the family-owned hotel says they're still not fully booked.
"Usually for summertime, like July 4th, we're booked a year out. Right now, we're not full for July 4th yet. So, it's interesting to see people are still wary about going out," said Ocean Park Inn President and CEO Elvin Lai.
Lai says people are still booking seven days out, but the industry is making progress.
"As the summer rolls through, we're actually seeing people book through the entire summer and we're actually starting to see reservations coming for next year which is the best sign," said Lai.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association says occupancy is expected to continue trending upward from the historic lows of 2020. During the height of the pandemic, occupancy was down to 44%. This year, it's averaging around 63%, still down from pre-pandemic levels.
" We definitely see a recovery in the future, maybe '24 is a good recovery time, that's what everyone is thinking, but we're still recovering, we're certainly not recovered," said Lai.
He says his inn is recovering from a five million dollar deficit after being closed for seven months.
"When you shut down a hotel, there's actually cost to shut down, and then when you turn things back on, things tend to break," said Lai.
The Inn was closed last Memorial Day weekend.