Spring breakers will soon be flooding San Diego, bringing much-needed revenue to the local economy.
This year, though, the San Diego Tourism Authority is looking to help minority-owned businesses cash in too.
"The tourism accelerator program is an idea that we had to help small businesses gain entry into the tourism and visitor market in San Diego,” said Brian Hilemon, senior director of marketing partnerships with the San Diego Tourist Authority.
Hilemon says they've selected 10 businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans, and those who identify as LGBTQ+.
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“They get financial support, they get legal coaching, they get support, mentorship in items like risk management, or commercial real estate,” said Hilemon.
John Haugland of Ortega's Mexican Bistro in Hillcrest is one of them. They’ve been in the neighborhood for 18 years.
“We have a lot to offer that I think could be good for tourists and groups that are coming to visit San Diego,” said Haugland.
Over in neighboring University Heights, the J. A Cooley Museum and Frank the Trainman Shop will also benefit.
“It's going to be life-changing for us,” said Carmen Cooley-Graham owner of J.A. Cooley Museum and Frank the Trainman.
The museum has been around for 26 years and the train store for 80, still, Cooley says she considers her businesses to be hidden gems. By being a part of the program now, she hopes to change that.
“Definitely the exposure that they have to offer, the education, the networking as well as just learning how to promote within our San Diego area and abroad,” said Cooley.
The Tourism Authority selected businesses across different neighborhoods and cities hoping to expand tourism across the country and with that give a much-needed boost to underrepresented businesses.
“We want people who visit San Diego to be able to experience the real San Diego, the San Diego that all of us know as locals,” said Hilemon. “And so that has to include businesses from all different walks of life.”
For a list of all 10 businesses click here.