The tourists are back. Not all of them, but a lot of people are getting in their cars and driving to San Diego from places like Arizona and Nevada.
Many are tired of the inland heat and of being cooped up at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many tourist have been booking hotel rooms again, and according to new numbers released by the San Diego Tourism Authority, demand for hotel rooms is increasing and so are prices.
The boost in business is especially noticeable on the weekends in beach communities like Mission Bay, La Jolla and Oceanside. On weekdays, the numbers show more hotel rooms booked in inland communities like Escondido and in East County.
No matter where the hotels are booked, demand is increasing rapidly, although not quite pre-pandemic.
According to the report, in February, before the COVID-19 shut-down, demand for hotel rooms peaked at 61,102. In April, demand dropped to a low of 11,509, but last week hotel bookings surged to 40,773, a sign that the tourism industry is on the mend.
“We’re very happy to be open,” said Victorio Gonzalez, who manages the Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. “ We’re very happy to have our team back at the hotel. Those months when we were closed were difficult months,” he added.
Gonzalez said hoteliers are accustomed to adapting. To having spent the past several months coming up with ways to keep their guests safe, from extra housekeeping and cleaning regimens, to free PPE and hand sanitizer for all guests.
“We’re all learning what we can do and what we cannot do, and I think we’ve done a great job of adhering to the mandates and little by little we’ve been able to open our restaurants our hotels, our spas, again, operating under the right guidelines.”
Guests are thankful for the extra precautions and just for the fact that there’s someplace they can go to get away from the monotony of staying home during the pandemic.
Gonzalez called today’s travelers “pioneers” who are willing to take small steps to get their lives back to normal, including travel. He told NBC7 this is a great time to travel.
“The places are cleaner, less populated, more available than probably they ever have been," he said.
As happy as he is to see occupancy on the rise at San Diego Hotels, Gonzalez predicts it will take a year or two for the tourism industry in San Diego to recover fully.
To see the new numbers released by the San Diego Tourism Authority, click here.