To honor National Travel and Tourism Week, the San Diego Tourism Authority held a virtual toast to the local industry and its workers featuring elected officials, business leaders and hospitality partners on May 7.
The goal of the event was to bring together the community and thank everyone for their hard work, perseverance, and share what leaders are working on to support the industry in these challenging times. The event kicked off with a cocktail tutorial by Cutwater Spirits and a discussion with the company’s founder Yuseff Cherney on its efforts to give back during the COVID-19 crisis as well as a cooking demonstration from Puesto Executive Chef Marco Arreguin on the secrets for making great guacamole.
With drinks in hand, local elected officials took to the virtual stage to thank the tourism community for their hard work and service to the San Diego region.
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer emphasized the importance the tourism community will play in the reopening of San Diego and restarting the local economy.
“This is a different kind of tourism week than we’ve ever been used to,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Our resiliency and our spirit are really shining through.”
Congressman Scott Peters told the virtual crowd that he is working with other tourism-focused destinations such as Las Vegas and Orlando on legislation that would provide special relief to the battered industry with a focus on restaurants.
“One of the pillars of our economy is tourism, and the hotels and the restaurants have been hardest hit,” he said. “When I go to Washington and talk to people in Washington, a lot of what I talk about is tourism and restoring that part of our economy.”
Erik Greupner, president of operations for the San Diego Padres, also joined the call, promising that baseball will return eventually return and detailing the Padres’ ongoing efforts to give back to the community by working with local nonprofits to address food insecurity.
“It’s times like these that we are so proud to be part of the San Diego community,” he said.
Assemblymember Todd Gloria applauded the SDTA for throwing the event even as the industry faces undeniable challenges.
“This is by far the most fun Zoom I’ve been on in two months so good on you for living up to your brand,” Assemblymember Gloria said, adding that San Diego will always be a desired destination because of its natural beauty and the positive outlook of its people. “That is a brand that you’ve build over many, many years, and no pandemic can undo that.”
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher joined the call to offer his thanks to members of the tourism community while also sharing the importance of supporting tourism because it represents the very best of San Diego.
“Your industry is a vital component of the San Diego region, not just a vital component of our economy but you are a vital core source of our society, of how we share and enjoy,” Supervisor Fletcher said. “We will rebuild.”
Joe Terzi, the SDTA’s president and CEO, agreed, saying “We will come back as quickly as we can.” He then welcomed Julie Coker, who will start as the president and CEO of the SDTA on June 2.
She expressed her excitement to join the SDTA and help lead the industry out of this crisis.
“I just love and admire the spirit that we all have, and it’s great to know that I am going to come to a community that believes in hospitality and tourism,” she said.
To view the call, click this link.