As we all are aware, coronavirus is having a profound impact on communities across the globe and the situation is no different for all of us who live, work and play in Santa Monica. At this time our first concern at Santa Monica Travel & Tourism is everyone’s wellbeing. We thank city staff for their leadership during this difficult time and are in full support of the aggressive measures taken by local, state and federal government to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s too soon to tell the complete story of how coronavirus is affecting Santa Monica’s hotels, restaurants, attractions and other tourist-serving businesses, it is clear that the uncertainty around the situation has decimated travel demand both internationally and domestically. In 2019 alone, travel and tourism generated nearly $2 billion dollars for Santa Monica’s economy with overnight hotel visitors injecting $58.6 million into the City of Santa Monica’s general fund through the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). These much needed funds are used to support critical city services such as our police and fire departments, libraries, public schools and parks.
Thousands of our local small and large businesses rely on the balance of both residence and visitors to stay afloat and support a workforce of 12,600 individuals, many who have received devastating news of virus-related layoffs in recent days. The unprecedented public health crisis we’re facing right now has ground travel to a halt and put the businesses and workers who rely on visitor spending in peril. Santa Monica Travel & Tourism exists to promote business and leisure travel to visitors around the country and the world, and those visits fuel our local economy and keep people employed. The travel industry businesses that contribute so much to our community, most of them small businesses, simply cannot weather this storm on their own.