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Business Report: Money Dries Up For San Diego Tourism Marketing

Bennett Lacy
San Diego International Airport is largely empty as travel plummets during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.

BottomLine Marketing co-founder and SDSU marketing lecturer Miro Copic discusses some of the week’s top business stories with KPBS News.

Q: Tourism is essentially shut down in San Diego, and that means revenue that goes toward marketing San Diego is down. What's the strategy for the months ahead?

RELATED: Report: Coronavirus Could Cause 50% Drop In California Travel Spending


A: This campaign that was supposed to launch is a national campaign with some international overlays. It was supposed to launch this summer. What was decided because of the incredible decline in these tax revenues is to move forward but to do it toward a regional campaign focusing on Southern California, Santa Barbara on south, Arizona and Nevada. This allows at least the hotels for people who can drive and if there the appropriate social distancing and easing of certain things, to allow tourism to continue to flourish.

The issue is going to be, and why it was a wise move not to do the national campaign, is will people be willing to go on airplanes. And that's still a big if. I think it's a smart thing. It's very targeted, it's very focused, and it's going to hopefully address some of the shortfalls and mitigate some of the declines that they're projecting.

VIDEO: Business Report: Money Dries Up For San Diego Tourism Marketing

Q: Organizers of the Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival announced it will cancel this year's event planned for November. What does that say about the uncertainty for major events in San Diego through the rest of 2020?

RELATED: Wonderfront Cancels 2020 Festival Because Of Coronavirus Pandemic


A: I think one of the challenges with that is similar to what Comic-Con had to make a decision on, which is they have to hire and contract with different services. You have to sign these contracts months in advance. There are going to be out clauses but then it may be a major issue getting that all resolved. Unless the state has a firm commitment of how large an event they're willing to hold over the next few months, there's too much uncertainty.

These are major decisions these organizations are going to have to make. We're going to start seeing important events like this one starting to make these decisions in the next 20 to 30 days. So the likelihood that many events are going to be canceled by year-end is fairly high at this stage.