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NEWPORTBEACHINDY . COM SEPTEMBER 16 , 2022 | VOLUME XIV , ISSUE 19

Post-Pandemic Tourism Returning to Newport Beach and Orange County

FATAL HIT AND RUN TRAFFIC COLLISION IN NEWPORT BEACH

Tourists on the ferry to the Fun Zone / photo by Chris Trela
By Christopher Trela | NB Indy Tourism has been the chief economic engine that drives our city ’ s economy , and that of much of Orange County — especially Anaheim with Disneyland and the Convention Center .
Two years ago , the global pandemic caused that engine to run out of gas .
“ This is the tourism industry ’ s George Baily moment ,” Newport Beach & Co . CEO Gary Sherwin told the Newport Beach Independent in May of 2020 , referring to the main character in the film “ It ’ s a Wonderful Life .”
“ We ’ re discovering what life is like without tourism . It isn ’ t pretty . Like in the movie , you look at what the void is , and in Newport Beach it ’ s devastating . Without visitors the economy is suffering ; it will have an impact on quality of life in the city .”
“ We were at 80 percent hotel occupancy in February ( 2020 ), and by the end of March we were down to 30 percent occupancy ,” continued Sherwin . “ It ’ s the biggest drop ever in our city and across the nation . We have three major properties open : Lido House , Marriott , and Pelican Hill . Everyone else is shut down . Even hotels that are open are at single digit occupancy . It ’ s a devastating blow . It ’ s going to take a while to dig out .”
Now , more than two years and a truckload of shovels later , we ’ ve finally dug our way out of the pandemic , and all indicators are that 2023 will be a robust year for the tourism and hospitality industries .
In August , Visit Anaheim hosted a
Destination Forecast featuring three guests experts offering their analysis of the travel and tourism industry : Erin Francis-Cummings , President and CEO of Destination Analysts ; Leona Reed , Associate V . P . of Global Marketing for Visit California , and Michael Dominguez , President and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International .
Their presentations offered insights into how consumers are feeling about their decision making on spending , travel and leisure activities .
But first , a look back at 2019 , when Anaheim had 24.2 million visitors , including nearly three million foreign tourists . More than $ 9.3 billion was
TOURISM Page 12
By NB Indy Staff On Sunday Sept . 11 , at approximately 8:26 a . m ., the Newport Beach Police Department communications center received a 911 call reporting a traffic collision involving a vehicle and bicyclist on Jamboree Road south of University Drive .
The involved vehicle fled the scene without the driver stopping or checking on the welfare of the bicyclist .
Newport Beach police officers arrived on scene and located citizens attempting to render aid to the adult male bicyclist . Despite their lifesaving efforts , the bicyclist ( whose name has not been released ) was pronounced deceased on scene by the Newport Beach Fire Department .
Shortly thereafter , Newport Beach police officers located the suspect vehicle and the driver in the nearby Eastbluff neighborhood .
The driver , Adriana Bernal , 36 , of Anaheim , was taken into custody without incident . Through the course of the investigation , Bernal was found to be under the influence of a drug at the time of the collision .
Due to a prior arrest for DUI , the driver was ultimately arrested for 187 ( a ) CPC – Murder and 20001 ( a ) CVC – Hit and Run .
Any witnesses or anyone with information about the collision can call Investigator M . Keyworth at ( 949 ) 644-3746 .

Newport Beach City Manager Update

The

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Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung
By Grace Leung , Newport Beach City Manager
I would like to thank and recognize our residents who participated in the City ’ s summer reading program , and our Library Services staff for delivering another stellar series . The summer 2022 numbers were very impressive :
• Registration for the children ’ s summer reading program increased more than 15 percent from the previous year , with 1,249 children participating . The children ’ s program participation levels also increased significantly , with 9,052 books read ( a
30 percent increase ), 288,244 minutes logged ( a 25 percent increase ) and 1,465 book reviews submitted .
• Nearly 150 participated in the teen summer reading program , with 263 book reviews submitted . The Library had 72 teen volunteers assist with the children ’ s program , providing 641 volunteer hours of service .
• About 200 participated in the adult summer reading program , and 60 completed the program with at
CITY MANAGER Page 10
THIS WEEK ’ S QUESTION :
What was the top reason that kept you from traveling this summer ?
m High gas prices m High cost of traveling m Covid-19 safety concerns