Where Do San Diegans Vacation When Their Home Town is a Tourist Destination?

NBC 7 Responds looked at some of the areas that are targeting advertising to San Diegans looking for a vacation.

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When your home town is a tourist destination, where do you vacation?

San Diego is preparing to launch a multimillion dollar ad campaign next month to kickstart its tourism industry.

San Diegans, of course, often look for vacation destinations elsewhere.

"We live right at the beach, so it's a vacation paradise for a lot of other people," Carlsbad resident Todd Anderson said. "We love to get out of town and visit other places."

That's why travel bureaus and tourism authorities target San Diego, especially ones that are based not too far away.

"Our research shows that San Diego is one of our top markets for visitation," said Stephanie Pressler, community director at Arizona's Experience Scottsdale. "A lot of people are preferring to do road trips, and Scottsdale is really just a short drive away."

Experience Scottsdale runs most of its ads during the winter months but is still advertising online to San Diegans. Right now, during the city's off-season, the flow of tourists has reversed.

"All of our people head to San Diego during the summer to escape the heat," Pressler said. "We're trying to attract new visitors into the area as well as entice past visitors to come back and visit again."

San Diego's Tourism Authority said the pandemic slowed tourism ads, but Las Vegas and Palm Springs have continued to advertise to San Diegans. Other visitor bureaus that have recently advertised in San Diego include Lake Havasu, in Arizona, and Carmel-By-the-Sea, about 10 miles south of San Francisco.

"People from this area, the Monterey Peninsula, love to vacation in San Diego," said Amy Herzog, executive director of Visit Carmel-By-the-Sea.

Herzog said there was also a two-way flow of visitors between the two areas. As summer travel picks up, Herzog expects more visitors from within California.

"This summer is the year of the road trip," Herzog said. "There's this big pent-up desire for getting out. Vaccinations are up and people are feeling really optimistic right now."

San Diegans also love to travel to places like Hawaii and also stick closer to home where road trips are possible. One reason for people traveling far from home this year: The high price of rental cars, caused when many companies sold parts of their fleets to stay open during the pandemic.

"We always do road trips," said Silvia, who lives in Oceanside. "Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco, Wine Country, Yosemite, etc."

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