Santa Cruz County moves to the Orange Tier.

The Travel Forecast

April 1, 2021

VSCC Launches 2021 “Let’s Cruz Safely” Spring Campaign

Today, Visit Santa Cruz County (VSCC) is launching Let’s Cruz Safely, a spring marketing campaign designed to lead with COVID safety messaging while enticing visitors during the pre-season with a hefty Santa Cruz County getaway sweepstakes as they begin to plan their summer vacation. The integrated campaign includes an updated broadcast commercial, online marketing campaigns in targeted Bay Area digital outlets, and a specialized social media component for 2021. 

VSCC’s “Let’s Cruz Safely” commercial will be part of a major TV ad campaign focused on targeted drive markets in the Central Valley including Stockton, Modesto, and Sacramento in addition to the San Francisco Bay area. The television and online marketing strategies will ensure strong regional exposure to travelers within targeted drive markets to Santa Cruz County. Online ad campaigns with Diablo magazine, Bay Area Parent, Bay Area Reporter, The Inertia, Q Digital, Outword Magazine, SF Gate, MetroNewspapers, and Visit California will also be hosted throughout the lifespan of the spring promotion.  

The contest will also be integrated into VSCC’s social media channels and featured on Twitter and VSCC’s blog with weekly giveaways on Facebook for overnight stays in the Santa Cruz area and activity prizes through June. 

From now through June 30, 2021, Santa Cruz County fans – both local and out of the county – can enter the Let’s Cruz Safely Vacation Getaway Contest online for a chance to win a Grand Prize which includes the following prizes: four nights at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn and $200 food and beverage, a Craftbar experience and gift certificate from Annieglass Studios, sailing for two on The Chardonnay, an Annual State Parks Day Use Pass from Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, a $50 gift card for Gayle’s Bakery, a Redwood Canopy Tour with Mount Hermon Adventures wine tasting for two at Nicholson Vineyards, for two guests, O’Neill branded face masks, tickets for two at Roaring Camp Railroads, and $50 in MyBoardwalk Cards for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

A separate prize giveaway will be promoted exclusively to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Big Kahuna Club members and a special Dogcation© getaway contest for Dogtrekker e-news subscribers will be featured concurrently with the main contest. Those who enter the weekly giveaway contests, the Dogcation© giveaway, and the Big Kahuna Club giveaway will also be automatically entered to win the Let’s Cruz Safely Grand Prize.

These marketing efforts are supported by the Tourism Marketing District.  The Let’s Cruz Vacation Getaway Contest is sponsored by Visit Santa Cruz County and the following partners: Annieglass Studios, Chaminade Resort & Spa, Chardonnay Sailing Charters, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, Gayle’ Bakery and Rosticceria, Hotel Paradox, Mount Hermon Adventures, Nicholson Vineyards, O’Neill, Pajaro Dunes Resort, Richard Schmidt Surf School, Roaring Camp Railroads, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Dream Inn, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Seascape Beach Resort, and SUP Shack Santa Cruz.

COVID Update: Orange Tier Status, Boardwalk Reopening, Events Coming Back

On Tuesday, the County Health Services Agency announced that Santa Cruz County has achieved Orange Tier status: a measured improvement as the local tourism industry prepares to re-open for a delayed spring season. News that the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will re-open select rides today and that some of the region’s signature events will take place in 2021 all signal that the tourism and hospitality industry is on the brink of a comeback. With that in mind, what will the coming months have in store?

VSCC has seen some signature events returning, including Felton’s Santa Cruz Mountains Sol Festival, Watsonville’s Goat Hill Faire, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and outdoor concerts from the Felton Music Hall at Roaring Camp Railroads – among others.

The Orange Tier status allows for increased occupancy at 50 percent inside restaurants, museums, and retail shops, among other types of businesses. Family entertainment centers can operate at a 25 percent capacity while in the Orange Tier. Bars, breweries, and distilleries may resume outdoor operations, wineries may resume indoor operations at 25 percent capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer).  Based on Santa Cruz County’s adjusted case rate (number of new cases per 100,000 residents, adjusted based on testing volume); the positivity rate (percentage of people who test positive for the virus of all individuals who are tested); a health equity metric; and the number of vaccines administered – this new status was also achieved by seven other counties: Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Los Angeles, Modoc, Orange, and Tuolumne. Thirteen California counties in total moved to a less restrictive tier on March 30th.  

Health officials are hopeful that Santa Cruz County will move to the Yellow Tier in three weeks, coinciding with California’s expansion of COVID vaccination efforts.

Destination Analysts’ research shows that 82 percent of Americans say the idea of traveling is made more comfortable by receiving a COVID-19 vaccine however travelers still appear to believe in vigilance to prevent spread. Right now, 74 percent believe you still need to wear a mask after you are vaccinated.  On the horizon for travel, “toe-dip trips” are at the top of the list: shorter post-pandemic getaways to help rebuild confidence in traveling before taking bucket-list trips. And according to a recent survey from Travelocity, 60 percent of travelers say they’re ready to roam again and are planning a post-pandemic trip within the next nine months.

Legislative Update: The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021

Just two weeks ago marked the one-year milestone of a statewide shutdown from what became a global pandemic. Each sector of the travel and hospitality industry was affected. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel losses totaled $1.1 trillion last year due to the COVID Pandemic. Nationally, travel-supported jobs fell by 5.6 million in 2020, from 16.7 million to 11.1 million: the equivalent of 65 percent of all American jobs lost to the economic fallout of the pandemic. Prior to the onset of COVID, travel, and tourism had supported employment for 11 percent of the country’s workforce. Now, bipartisan legislation is being considered that will help jumpstart economic recovery efforts nationwide.

Co-sponsored by Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D – 20th C.D.) and five other members of Congress and the U.S. Senate, the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021 aims to support the hospitality industry and its workers. The bill is designed to create new recovery incentives for hospitality and trade shows, extend the employee retention tax credit to reduce layoffs and keep people in the hospitality industry employed, create a perishable food and beverage credit to help small businesses cover the cost of inventory lost during COVID-19-related closures, and provide a tax credit for middle-class families to jump-start travel when safe.

Visit Santa Cruz County is preparing a statement supporting this legislation to be released during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2 – 8, 2021.

ERC County Blueprint Status Report

The weekly County Blueprint Status Report related to COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County is available for the week of March 30, 2021 in English and Spanish. These updates are provided by the Economic Recovery Council of Santa Cruz County (ERC).  Information from the ERC aligns with state and county health officials, Governor Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, and SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County.  

City Arts Grants Available!

Calling all artists:  it’s time to apply for the City Arts Recovery Design (CARD) Pilot Grant Program. Artists at all stages of their careers are eligible to apply.  The program/project must take place within the City of Santa Cruz and be promoted to City residents and visitors. Individual artists are invited to submit project proposals that align with one of the three themes: Economic Recovery, Restorative Justice, and Public Health & Safety.  Letters of Intent must be submitted by Monday, April 5th. Click here for more details about the CARD program!

Take the Safety Pledge!

Let’s Cruz Safely as we head into the season by practicing safe personal protocols! Take the Safety Pledge, part of VSCC’s Let’s Cruz Safely campaign, and let us give you a shout out on our social media channels. Just send us a snap of your staff and employees taking the pledge and we’ll share the good news!  

Clean + Safe Kudos!

Congratulations to the West Cliff Inn and the Quality Inn Santa Cruz which received Clean + Safe certification from the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA). As a reminder: all lodging properties are members of CHLA and have the capacity to become certified as a benefit of their membership. Find out how your property can become Clean + Safe certified here!

Did you know……

that two-thirds of Santa Cruz County’s regional visitor drive market lives within 120 miles of Santa Cruz County?   

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