Santa Monica tourism officials are gearing up for the 6th annual Santa Monica Travel & Tourism Summit with tourism outreach efforts across the city.

National Travel and Tourism week is a national concerted effort led by the U.S. Travel Association to shine light on what travel means to jobs, economic growth and personal well-being throughout communities across America. The City jumped into on May 6 by having local officials greet tourists in Palisades Park.

“Just look at the numbers. Travel supports 15 million jobs in America, including 13,700 right here in Santa Monica,” said Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez in a statement. “This week and next, we are celebrating and sharing stories about what travel means to our community, and we call on everyone — from elected officials to local residents — to join us in saluting this important industry.”

Vazquez welcomed visitors on May 6 along side members of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According to the CVB, across California, travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from airline and hotel employees, to restaurant, attractions and retail workers, and supports industry sections such as construction, manufacturing and finance.

The CVB said that over 1 million jobs are supported by travel and tourism in California and $9.3 billion in state and local tax revenue is generated in California. At the national level the industry is responsible for $2.1 trillion in economic output and $927.9 billion in direct travel-related spending in the U.S. by domestic and international travelers in 2014, there was $141.5 billion generated in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2014 and 15 million American jobs are supported by travel.

“The tourism industry has personally provided me with incredible work opportunities for nearly 30 years,” said Santa Monica CVB CEO/President Misti Kerns in a statement. “Regardless of your background, if you are hardworking, hospitable, and willing to learn, you can have a future in this industry. Many members of the SMCVB team live in Santa Monica and have witnessed first-hand the direct benefits of tourism including the countless Santa Monica businesses and jobs that are touched by the economic activity visitors bring. That is what Travel & Tourism Week is all about.”

“Our mission is strategically focused on attracting visitors who bring the most economic benefits to Santa Monica with the least environmental impacts,” said Kerns. “However, it is exciting to think that the tourism halo effect may also be elevating Santa Monica’s reputation and spreading the long-term benefits of broader economic development across other industry sectors.”

Travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being. A recent study by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans left 429 million vacation days unused (the most in nearly 40 years) and forfeited $52.4 billion in time-off benefits. If workers took just one more day off each year, travel would generate $73 billion annually for the economy.

“Travel contributes to the fabric of America and continues to do wonders for our businesses and personal lives,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the travel industry in the U.S in a statement. “This weeklong celebration should extend to every day of the week to strengthen further our dynamic industry.”

SMCVB will release local economic figures, provide an update on its 5-year strategic plan, discuss the future outlook of the city’s travel landscape and unveil the destination brand refresh at its May 14 Travel and Tourism Summit.

For more information on the 6th annual Santa Monica Travel & Tourism Summit and to RSVP, visit

— Submitted Kelly Nagle

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