Visit Santa Barbara has paused its tourism advertisement campaign ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
The destination marketing organization for the Santa Barbara South Coast began a social media blitz when the county re-opened for leisure travel on June 12.
As Santa Barbara County COVID-19 cases increase and tourists eye Santa Barbara’s open beaches for a Fourth of July getaway, Visit Santa Barbara CEO Kathy Janega-Dykes said the community’s health comes first.
“The health and safety of our residents, hospitality workers and visitors are of paramount concern to Visit Santa Barbara. We have been constantly monitoring the news around COVID-19 cases, both locally and throughout California, as well as the orders from public health officials from the state and county, so that we can adjust our activities as needed. Accordingly, we have paused our paid social advertising for the Fourth of July weekend,” Ms. Janega-Dykes in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
Ms. Janega-Dykes said she relied on the state and county public health departments to interpret COVID-19 statistics and used their guidelines to inform her policy decisions.
“These past few months have been an extremely painful time for the Santa Barbara South Coast’s hospitality industry. The impact of the coronavirus has been unprecedented and severe. It has resulted in widespread furloughs, layoffs, and massive financial losses across the industry, as well as permanent business closures,” Ms. Janega-Dykes said.
Visit Santa Barbara encourages “responsible tourism.” Visitors are asked to travel responsibly and bring a face covering.
Tourism is one of the Santa Barbara South Coast’s largest industries. Tourists spend more than $1.9 billion and generate more than $56 million in tax revenue in the South Coast during a typical year.
Santa Barbara’s travel industry creates more than 13,500 regional jobs in a typical year in hotels, restaurants, retailers, transportation companies, attractions, entertainment and sightseeing, wineries and breweries and event service providers.
The city of Santa Barbara generated only $337,000 in transient occupancy taxes in May, down 80% from May 2019.