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San Diego leaders kick off summer tourism season in Balboa Park

Posted at 12:18 PM, May 22, 2024

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - City officials and tourism leaders kicked off San Diego's summer season Tuesday by highlighting beloved institutions and new tourism offerings at an event at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.

"Memorial Day Weekend signals the start of summer in San Diego," said Kerri Verbeke Kapich, chief operating officer of the San Diego Tourism Authority. "As we roll into the season with National Travel and Tourism Week, we're thrilled to showcase the incredible array of attractions, events and experiences that make our region a premier destination for visitors from around the globe, and a vibrant place for San Diegans to live and work in."

Last year, San Diego's $22 billion tourism industry welcomed 31.8 million visitors who spent $14.3 billion at local businesses. According to the tourism authority, this generated more than $418 million in Transient Occupancy Tax revenue countywide and an additional $1 billion in sales, property and other taxes.

"Tourism is essential to powering our local economy," Mayor Todd Gloria said at The Nat. "Over the past year, tourism generated approximately $1 billion in tax revenues across the county. We put these revenues to work at the city of San Diego to help fund essential services and pay for public infrastructure that directly benefits local residents and businesses."

A series of anniversaries are also marking the season this year, as The Nat celebrates 150 years, Balboa Theater 100 years, SeaWorld San Diego 60 years, San Diego Pride 50 years, George's at the Cove 40 years, the San Diego Convention Center 35 years, Legoland California 25 years and Petco Park 20 years, among others.

"We're thrilled to celebrate The Nat's 150th anniversary this summer and are delighted to welcome the community to enjoy our Summer of Wonder featuring new exhibits, programs, and activities," said Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum. "All the anniversaries this year represent not only a momentous occasion, but also a testament to the enduring legacy and positive impacts of San Diego's tourism industry."

A procession of industry figures at Tuesday's news conference included mascots and representatives of SeaWorld, Sesame Place, the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, the San Diego Padres, the San Diego Seals and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

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