A rainbow forms in the spray of water hitting La Jolla rocks on the first day of King Tides.
California’s beaches and seaside attractions will be part of a hoped-for resurgence for the state’s tourism industry. Here, a rainbow forms in a spray of water hitting La Jolla rocks. Photo by Chris Stone

The outlook for summer travel in California looks sunny, tourism officials announced to open California Tourism Month, as the state expects to widely re-open by June 15.

That’s especially good news on the cusp of the always busy summer season.

As the majority of California’s tourism assets – from beaches to theme parks, and museums to wineries – move closer to normal operations, the long-term prospects for California tourism have brightened too.

Those venues, in addition to other service and leisure outlets like hotels and restaurants, were among the businesses to shoulder the worst effects of the COVID-19 closures. A month after the March 2020 lockdown, more than half of the state’s 1.2 million tourism workers found themselves without jobs. 

Tourism Economics projects domestic visitor spending in California will reach 76% of 2019 levels this year. By next year, domestic spending is predicted to hit 94% of 2019 levels, with total visitor spending, including international travel, to hit 87%. 

One way residents can support the tourism comeback, officials said, is to return to travel by staying within the Golden State.

“California is open for business,” said Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. “I encourage Californians to support our small businesses and begin to make travel plans. Together, we can help the tourism industry bounce back, while safely enjoying all that our beautiful state has to offer.”

Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, said “residents can help their fellow Californians by keeping their tourism dollars in California.”

The options, said Joe D’Alessandro president and CEO of San Francisco Travel, “are limitless – and it will make a big difference in speeding up our collective recovery.”

In addition, Visit California is asking those who missed out on a milestone trip in 2020 to share it on their “Dreaming On in California” web page – with a chance to win a similar experience this summer.

The trip can be anything from a canceled wedding or milestone birthday party, to simply having missed a family vacation. Visit California will accept submissions through May 24 with experiences set to take place from June 21-25. 

California’s current travel advisory hews to Centers for Disease Control guidance:

  • Vaccinated travelers – those less likely to get or spread COVID-19 – can travel safely in the state. They are not required to test or quarantine before or after travel unless they have developed symptoms linked to COVID-19.
  • Unvaccinated people are strongly discouraged from making non-essential trips to California.