SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It’s National Travel and Tourism week, but planning your next trip is difficult to navigate because of COVID.
The president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association made stops in San Jose and San Francisco on Thursday to encourage people to travel to the Bay Area and for businesses trips to come back to pre-pandemic status.
Here are the latest travel trends for those coming to the Bay Area.
In a survey conducted by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, two thirds said they planned on traveling during the summer season. The numbers are almost back to what they were pre-pandemic, but it’s a been more of a struggle bringing business travel back.
While more Americans are making the choice to make their travel plans, the Bay Area doesn’t seem to be the destination of choice, according to President and CEO of American Hotel and Lodging Association Chip Rogers.
In San Jose he says leisure travel will be down this year by 16% and business travel will be down by more than 50%.,
“Total economic activity that will be lost because those numbers aren’t back to 2019 levels is about $715 million community and that means a lot of jobs,” Rogers said.
Rogers was joined by San Jose Chamber of Commerce President Derrick Seaver to encourage people to choose San Jose as their travel destination and for businesses to book flights for their employees instead of sending Zoom invites.
“Don’t just focus solely on productivity, but also put a focus on connectivity and the importance of getting people back out –getting individuals together,” Seaver said.
It’s a request that San Francisco Mayor London Breed made back in March when she announced the Bloom SF festival.
Since then, there have been tourist draws such as March Madness games at Chase Center and 4/20 in Golden Gate Park, but business travel is having a harder comeback.
Hotels in San Francisco are on pace to see the sharpest decline in business travel revenue of all major U.S. cities with a drop of nearly 70%.
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It’s why the American Hotel and Lodging Association held a panel discussion in the city to highlight the important of reigniting travel.
“The city is open for business, people can come visit and we’re ready to welcome visitors again,” said Hubertus Funke of San Francisco Travel Association.
It doesn’t stop at travel campaigns. Rogers says policy plays an important role and wants to see the federal government lift the testing mandate that requires travelers from other countries to provide a negative COVID-19 test when entering the U.S. — regardless of vaccination status.
To have an idea for how much leisure and business travel effects the local economy, Rogers says that for every $100 a visitor spends in a hotel, they spend another $220 in the community they visit.