Valley travel industry shows signs of rebound as CA reopens economy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – After visiting Las Vegas, New Yorkers Jarrett Adams and Brian Robinson decided to book a short stay at the Darling Hotel in Visalia this week.

“It felt like oh yeah, this is going to be a nice little place to hang out, visit the national parks, still feel like we can eat well, walk around a bit, that kind of thing.” said Adams.

After months of working from home, it was finally time for Adams to embark on this journey. Many other Americans choose to do the same.

CONNECTED: What will change across central California when the state reopens?

Nellie Freeborn, Executive Director of Visit Visalia, says there are several reasons people are feeling good again – more vaccinations and fewer coronavirus restrictions.

In Visalia the occupancy of the hotels is strong again, the demand for meetings and events is high.

“We really expect this summer to be pretty busy,” said Freeborn. “So all of our hotel owners, our stakeholders, our tourism and hospitality partners are working hard to make sure they can deliver the service that people expect.”

People who stayed home at the start of the pandemic took a huge toll on California’s massive tourism industry.

After a Report on the economic impact In preparation for Visit California, the state saw a 55% decrease in travel spending from 2019 to 2020.

In the Central Valley, spending was down nearly 49% and Tulare County was down nearly 46%.

However, officials from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks say visitor traffic is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“We don’t have enough information to tell if this will be a record year or anything, but we’re definitely on the right track to having another really busy summer,” said Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Public Affairs Specialist Rebecca Paterson said .

CONNECTED: 506 Days: Looking Back At The Highs And Lows Of COVID-19 In Central California

Paterson says visitors can avoid the crowds by visiting after off-peak hours.

Face covering is required in some indoor spaces, such as the Crystal Cave and the shuttle buses.

Adams and Robinson spent all of Monday exploring Sequoia and on Tuesday made their way to their next destination – Los Angeles.

CONNECTED: June 15th is here: Everything changes today with the great reopening of California

Because they are vaccinated, they know they are protected and have been able to enjoy their travels.

“I think we’re social beings too, and once we’re back in our element, we quickly feel comfortable in this environment,” he said.

If you’re traveling this summer, Visit Visalia says you should be patient with companies as they start up after a difficult year.

If you want to avoid the crowds but still enjoy the natural beauty of the area, consider the Sequoia National Forest.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.