‘It’s time’ – state travel officials urge Californians to plan summer vacations

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From a podium in Moscone Center on Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis urged Californians to start planning their summer vacations. Where does she want them to go? California.

“It’s time. You can safely get out in public again,” Kounalakis said. “I think we all need a little weekend getaway.”

Encouraging pandemic-fatigued Californians to step out of their homes and spend money touring their own state was the message of a news conference hosted by Visit California, the state tourism bureau, ahead of Gov. Gavin Newsroom’s plan to fully reopen the state on June 15.

The “life-affirming freedom of travel is right in front of us,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. “This is about choosing California and your fellow Californians first as a modern day act of patriotism.”

The state’s tourism industry, typically one of the strongest in the country, has been gutted over the past year as international travel and corporate conference events dried up and Californians were held to some of the country’s strictest COVID protocols. A statewide travel advisory put into effect in December recommended that residents not venture more than 120 miles from home. It was updated in April to align with national guidance that people delay travel until they are fully vaccinated.

Overall, the outlook for travel this year is “very promising as the state is poised to reopen,” Beteta said.

Disneyland, sporting events, wineries, museums and restaurants are all either accepting guests or on the verge of doing so.

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