Enjoying the cool ocean breeze and La Jolla’s white-sand beaches you’ll find the Zedina family, in town on vacation from Las Vegas.
“This is our first big vacation since July 2020,” said Latashia Zedina.
Over the past week, many families like the Zedina’s have packed the area’s beaches and local attractions.
“Just being out and around people, [feels nice,]” said Zedina. “I was going kind of secluded for a long time. The pandemic took that away from us.”
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Tourists like the Zedina brought much-needed business to the city over the holiday weekend.
“[We had a ] very strong Memorial Day Weekend,” said Lydia Bartell, Vice President of Bartell Hotels. “I would say same as pre-pandemic levels in terms of revenue.”
Bartell says the company has eight properties across San Diego and nearly all of their hotels were sold out on Saturday and very busy on Sunday.
“People seem to be undeterred by the high gas prices,’ said Bartell. “There have been a few more cases of COVID-19 around and still, we have not seen that have an impact on our business. We’re very optimistic for a great summer.”
The same is true for other hotels across the county.
Kerri Kapich, COO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, says the average occupation rate of San Diego’s hotels in recent weeks has been in the 75% range, very close to the pre-pandemic average of 77%.
“It's definitely getting way better,” said Kapich. “We're super excited that things are improving."
Two years of pent-up demand are now spurring more people to hit the road.
“It’s relaxing, being from Las Vegas, being able to feel the moisture in the air, being by the water, it's been really nice,” said Zedina.
This summer, families are determined to get back out and make up for two years of pandemic living.
The San Diego Convention Center is also expecting to see twice the number of attendees this year compared to last, with at least $200 million more spent from out-of-town visitors.