Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


New $8 million tourism campaign launched to promote San Diego as a 'happy destination'

People enjoying the sand and surf in Ocean Beach. August 1, 2014
Nicholas McVicker / KPBS
People enjoying the sand and surf in Ocean Beach. Aug. 1, 2014

The San Diego Tourism Authority launched a new campaign ad last weekend to promote San Diego as a "happy place," in hopes of attracting more visitors ahead of the busy spring and summer travel season.

The $8 million campaign includes national placement of the ad during Super Bowl pre-game coverage, the Beijing Winter Olympics and the NCAA's March Madness tournament. The Tourism Authority launched the initiative to help the leisure and hospitality sectors in San Diego make a comeback after being hit hard by the pandemic.

Kerri Kapich, chief operating officer for the San Diego Tourism Authority joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about the new campaign.


"The TV spot that we have is really showing the outdoor beauty of San Diego, which is what people are looking for when they're thinking about travel destinations," Kapich said. "We were able to film in a variety of coastal areas and be able to also show the beauty of Balboa Park. It is a fun and light-hearted spot. It takes an old nursery rhyme, '(If You're) Happy and You Know It,' and it's been reinterpreted using a very fresh take on the song."

Kapich said the hospitality industry in San Diego is still recovering from the pandemic.

"What we've seen happen is that large events and group meetings have been slower to return from a travel perspective, individual leisure travel has certainly held up pretty well, but unfortunately we still see that visitor spending is down," she said. "It's down about 40%. When we take a look at employment for San Diego in the leisure and hospitality sector, it too is down compared to pre-pandemic levels. It's down by a good 15% fewer employees."

Kapich said the TV spot will mainly air throughout Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Phoenix, but will also be advertised on digital platforms nationally.