SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The California tourism industry is ready to rebound. Visit California, a non-profit organization that promotes tourism, held a press conference in San Francisco Tuesday morning to announce that the state is open for business, and to encourage Californians to vacation in-state.
"Just from June of 2020 through February of 2021, California lost nearly $12 billion in visitor spending from Californians leaving the state to vacation in other destinations. Mexico in particular, a billion dollars went to Mexico," said Caroline Beteta, the President and CEO of Visit California.
San Francisco tourism has been hit hard in the past year.
"SFO has lost more passengers than any airport in the U.S. due to the pandemic and is the slowest to recover," said Joe D'Alessandro, President of the San Francisco Visitors and Conventions Bureau.
Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis was also at the press conference to encourage people to visit California.
"In the travel and tourism industry, there was no 'working from home' and so we are starting 2021 with a significant deficit for this industry," Kounalakis said. "The good news is we are opening back up."
Beteta said the prediction is that it will take this industry about four years to rebound, but she believes Californians can pull together and shorten that curve.
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