San Diego's Tourism Industry Is on Road to Recovery, Hotel Rooms Sold Out

One of the managers at The Ocean Beach Hotel in San Diego said OB felt like a ghost town at the height of the coronavirus pandemic but now, life is coming back

NBC Universal, Inc.

After more than a year of economic blows due to the coronavirus pandemic, it looks like San Diego's tourism industry may finally be on the road to recovery.

San Diego hotels and businesses are reporting more guests as more COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and restrictions are loosened across the county and state.

“Ever since the restrictions have been lifted, it’s been more busy,” said Fernando Espinoza, the night manager at The Ocean Beach Hotel.

Espinoza compared OB to a ghost town at the peak of the pandemic and said now some rooms at The Ocean Beach Hotel are getting booked far in advance.

“We booked it about 3 months ago,” said William Herrera, visiting from the Coachella Valley. “We enjoy the view, enjoy the hotel and then right here, in this area, you got everything within walking distance.”

Espinoza said they’ve been selling out on weekends but are still struggling in sales during the weekday, compared to weekday sales before the pandemic.

And It’s the same trend across the county.

According to data collected by the San Diego Tourism Authority, hotels in some parts of the county are reaching between 82 and 92 percent occupancy on weekends.

Recently, hotel sales reached a post-pandemic record for the number of hotel nights sold. About 300,000 nights were sold for the week of March 28 to April 3 compared to about 316,000 right before the state-wide lockdown.

“It brings a lot of hope that things are coming back to normal,” said Espinoza. Espinoza said staff and guests are continuing to follow protocols to ensure the safety of those working and staying at the hotel.

With San Diego in the orange tier under California's color-coded plan for safely reopening the economy, hotels are open with modifications. Fitness centers within hotels can operate at 25% capacity; indoor pools have also been given the greenlight.

Visitors and hotel employees must follow the state's COVID-19 safety guidelines, which includes the use of face masks and social distancing. To catch up on COVID-related safety guidelines for hotels in our region, click here.

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