The impact of COVID-19 on San Diego’s tourism industry is far-reaching. During the depths of the pandemic in 2020, tourism was essentially shut down except for essential workers, resulting in unprecedented declines and job loss. San Diego Tourism Marketing District’s oversight of dedicated funds throughout the pandemic ensured continued operations of the San Diego Tourism Authority and supported the launch of a highly strategic marketing campaign to jumpstart tourism recovery. 

Upon reopening for leisure tourism in Spring 2021 through Labor Day, San Diego tourism outpaced its western competitive set and ranked third in the nation behind Oahu, HI and Norfolk, VA for hotel performance. While total visitors and visitor spending remained below pre-pandemic levels, pent up demand for travel combined with more limited hotel capacity enabled average daily rate (ADR) to climb above pre-pandemic rates by July 2021.

Tourism Jobs

Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 8 jobs in San Diego were in tourism. In the accommodations sector alone, jobs were still down 27 percent as of August 2021.