NBindy_9.16.22 for digital - Page 12

Tourism
12 newportbeachindy . com SEPTEMBER 16 , 2022

Tourism

PAGE 1
spent by Anaheim visitors in Orange County ( and many visitors include Newport Beach on their agenda ).
One year later , hotel occupancy was down to 18 percent , there was a 51 percent decrease in spending , and a 46 percent decrease in leisure and hospitality jobs across Orange County .
Disneyland closed , conventions ceased , concerts stopped , sporting events were held sans fans .
Then in 2021 , things started to turn around . Disneyland reopened , conventions returned ( albeit with covid restrictions ), Angel Stadium welcomed back fans ( with social distancing seating and other protocols in place ).
According to Visit Anaheim , year to date visitor data shows the area has returned to 99.6 percent of the 2019 numbers .
In Francis-Cummings ’ presentation , she stated that nearly half of American travelers are firmly confident they can travel safely in the current environment , and that travel anxiety is decreasing .
As to what is keeping Americans from traveling , the top reason ( according to a survey ) was the price of gasoline , followed by the high cost of traveling , personal financial reasons , and airfare costs . Safety concerns about contracting Covid-19 was listed fifth .
Fears of a recession and inflation are having an impact on travel . The price of gasoline was also a factor , although prices have since decreased significantly .
Anecdotally , local airports have seen increased passenger traffic on major holidays , but also myriad flight
cancellations . Despite those issues , the mood in the tourism industry is mainly upbeat .
Reed told the audience that Visit California ’ s recovery forecast shows that in 2020 , travel spending was 55 percent of what it was in 2019 . Last year , spending was at 69 percent . This year , it ’ s predicted to be at 94 percent . By 2023 , travel spending will be at 107 percent of 2019 figures , and that percentage continues to rise in subsequent years . And while international travel lags behind both domestic leisure and business travel , even that segment is predicted to recover between 2024 and 2025 . Locally , things are looking good . According to Visit Anaheim , its 2022 confirmed bookings for the Anaheim Convention Center are up 11 percent compared to 2019 . Strategically focused on booking shortterm convention business to fuel local recovery , Visit Anaheim will host 90 percent of these Anaheim events from 2022 – 2024 .
These meetings , conventions and events for the Anaheim Convention Center will bring 188,700 room nights to local hotels and $ 444 million in economic impact to the community because of attendees dining , shopping and entertaining while in town .
For the remainder of 2022 , Visit Anaheim has 21 groups utilizing the Anaheim Convention Center . Combined , these 21 groups will bring $ 222 million in economic impact to the local community .
“ Visit Anaheim had a strong summer with shows like NAMM , VidCon , Star Wars Celebration and many more that returned to the Anaheim Convention Center . These shows along
VEA pool and bar
with a strong leisure return contributed to an 82 percent occupancy seen in Anaheim and Garden Grove for the month of June ,” said Junior Tauvaa , Chief Sales Officer for Visit Anaheim . “ That ’ s only five percent behind occupancy levels seen in June 2019 , which shows we are getting that much closer to reaching pre-pandemic levels .”
Closer to home , Sherwin recently told the Newport Beach Independent that “ Newport Beach more than a lot of places came out of Covid much more resilient and in better shape . Even during Covid we were able to sustain ourselves which has to do with the short-term rental industry . If you look at the city budget , and the transient occupancy tax , it ’ s because of short term rentals — they really saved our bacon .”
“ We came out of this remarkably well ,” added Sherwin . “ It ’ s a testament to Newport Beach being a drive market , and it ’ s a healthy city with a healthy lifestyle .”
According to Sherwin , Newport Beach had a good summer , but we ’ re still in a transition period . As he
noted , tourism has lots of pieces to it , and “ you need all the pieces of the pie to have a good pie . The pieces that have been missing are meetings and conventions .”
Fortunately , VEA just opened and The Pendry ( formerly The Island Hotel ) will open next year , yet the hospitality labor shortage means there have not been enough staff to service all the hotel rooms in the city . Restaurants have been suffering through the same labor issues .
But overall , says Sherwin , the market has been resilient , yet they are not back at 2019 numbers yet .
“ In 2019 our staff booked 110,000 meeting and convention rooms for 2019 and years beyond . Last year we were at about 40,000 , this year it ’ s 75,000 . The Meetings market was hit first , and it has struggled to get its footing . Groups are smaller as people segue into a post-Covid world , but we have much more momentum than I expected .”
Overall , said Sherwin , “ I ’ m feeling bullish about where the industry is headed .”

Charity Spotlight

Newport Beach Garden Tour and Summer Garden Party Raises $ 81K for Sherman Library & Gardens

Karla Worsdell ( right ) watches artist Jim Ellsberry at work during the Summer Garden Party
By NB Indy Staff
A Summer Garden Party took place throughout Sherman Gardens on the evening of August 27 as part of the 26th Annual Newport Beach Garden Tour .
Guests enjoyed delicious food from 608 Dahlia restaurant , a Bouquet Bar , Posey Frame , artists in the garden painting and selling their art , and live music by Dave Aguiar & The Garden Party Players .
Attendees were encouraged to wear their favorite garden party hat and enter the hat contest upon arrival . Judges of the hat contest were Ms . Alan Gibbons , editor of Orange Coast Magazine ; Renee Raphael , a stylist with South Coast Plaza ’ s Styling Program ; and Kathy Van Kat of Recycled Rags , a high-end clothing consign- ment store in Corona del Mar . Prizes were awarded to Mary Kennedy for Best Garden-Themed Hat , Pam Edmondson for Best DIY / Handmade Hat , Lorna Cohen for Hat with the Most Heart , and Emma Hennessey for Best Children ’ s Hat .
Newport Beach City Council Member Joy Brenner presented a City Proclamation to Executive Director Scott LaFleur recognizing Sherman Library & Gardens ’ as a cultural and educational center in Orange County .
A silent auction and raffle with prizes donated by area businesses contributed to the most successful Garden Tour in Sherman Library & Gardens ’ history .
GARDENS Page 14