Santa Monica Pier (File photo)

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism Awards Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium with Prestigious Tourism Award

As Santa Monicans, the Pacific Ocean plays a central role our way of life, whether we are beginning the day with an early morning surf session, spending the afternoon playing on the shores with our families or even just sneaking a glimpse of the calming waters in between meetings. Our glorious 3.5 mile stretch of coastline doesn’t just welcome those of us who are lucky enough to call this beachside city home, it also attracts visitors from around the world who seek the quintessential Southern California beach experience.

Each year Santa Monica Travel & Tourism selects one outstanding member of our community to receive the Jeff King Santa Monica Tourism Champion of the Year award. This award honors an individual or organization who demonstrates creativity and leadership while fostering the positive experience of visitors and Santa Monica community pride. Given the great importance of our ocean to our lifestyle as residents and the visitor experience, we were especially pleased to award this year’s recognition to Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium at the 9th Annual Travel & Tourism Summit held May 9th at Jonathan Beach Club.

Both organizations were selected in recognition of their unique partnership and dedication to making the coastal watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean over the past 33 years. Heal the Bay is an environmental nonprofit organization that uses science, education, community action and advocacy to fufill their mission. Their impressive list of accomplishments over the years includes; catalyzing the grassroots campaign for Prop 67, which upheld the statewide ban on harmful single-use plastic bags, squashing a measure to drill for oil under the Hermosa Beach seafloor and spurring change at L.A.’s largest sewage treatment plant.

Heal the Bay also operates the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which has welcomed more than one million visitors. This interactive marine education facility inspires understanding and conservations of our waters for both Angelenos and visitors alike.

The contributions of these organizations to the vitality of our community cannot be overlooked and we thank them for their important role in protecting the health of our most precious asset – the Pacific Ocean.


About the Jeff King Santa Monica Tourism Champion of the Year Award

SMTT first established the Tourism Champion of the Year Awards in 2017, awarded to then Assistant City Manager Elaine Polachek. In 2018, SMTT renamed this award to the “Jeff King Santa Monica Tourism Champion of the Year” Award in honor of a man who was a pillar of California hospitality.

A beloved member of the Santa Monica hospitality industry, Jeff King was the co-founder of Kings Seafood Company, where he opened 20 restaurants over his 50 year career including Water Grill and Pier Burger. He also worked tirelessly to champion the value of tourism, serving on boards for the California Restaurant Association, California Travel & Tourism Commission and Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.