'This is a big deal!' SF travel industry reacts to Newsom's announcement of CA reopening

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced a tentative plan to fully open the state of California on June 15, as long as there is ample vaccine supply and hospital rates stay low.

Those in the travel industry were quick to respond, saying they are already in the midst of booking fall conventions. That's in addition to one in San Francisco that has already been finalized.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom announces plan to fully reopen California on June 15

"Great news so now people can finally come out," says San Francisco motel owner Rakesh Patel. Patel says he's already seen business on the uptick at his Alpha Inn and Suites in the Marina District of the City.

"These last couple weeks we're getting busy a lot, like almost 100 percent occupancy," says Patel.
Conventions in California will technically be allowed come April 15, but news of a full state reopening is a difference maker when it comes to bringing them to San Francisco, says Joe D'Alessandro of San Francisco Travel.

RELATED: Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under reopening tiers

"A lot of planners have been telling us 'we'd love to meet in San Francisco in the fall' but they're uncomfortable making the commitment until they know we are going to be open for meetings, so this is a big deal," says D'Alessandro.

In Hayes Valley, business owners and managers tell us when theater and City Hall business picks up, they pick up. Conventions will help but those at Fig and Thistle say business is already taking a turn for the better.

"We didn't know how long that end of the tunnel would be and we're seeing the light yeah and it's looking hopeful," says Nina Lay who manages Fig and Thistle.
There's a long way to go though. Patel says a small motel room of his went for $700 a night during the Salesforce convention two years ago. It's now going for between $50 to $60 a night.

VACCINE TRACKER: Here's how CA is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

Those in the industry are hopeful that after San Francisco's $8 billion tourism loss in 2020, improved numbers and openings will lead to much better news.

"Maybe small meetings start happening later this month, but the larger conventions won't happen until the fall," says D'Alessandro.

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