2015 Oceanside Tourism Summit
Visit Oceanside Conference and Visitors Bureau hosted its 5th annual Tourism Summit on May 12, 2015 at the historic Brooks Theatre in downtown Oceanside. Speaking to a gathering of business owners and hospitality industry personnel, Leslee Gaul, Visit Oceanside President & CEO, reported on the City’s visitor industry growth in 2014 and focused on industry trends important to the future success of tourism in Oceanside. In keeping with tradition, Mayor Jim Wood threw out a beach ball to officially kick off the summer season.
In coordination with the event theme “It’s All About You,” the Tourism Summit kicked off with an inspirational video highlighting the growing food, arts & culture and outdoor lifestyle activities in Oceanside, CA; additionally visitors and locals alike were invited to cheer “It’s All About You” to show support of the new experiences local businesses have created.
“The annual tourism summit is a platform for celebrating our accomplishments and focusing on where we want to go in the future,” said Gaul. “Oceanside had a strong 2014 with the opening of a new beach hotel, upgrades to our downtown cityscape and an influx of new restaurants, craft brew venues and businesses. Our year-over-year industry numbers are up across the board and the future looks bright with all indications pointing to a strong summer season and second half of 2015.”
According to Gaul, a recent study by Dean Runyan Associates showed that Oceanside generated over $259 million in visitor spending in 2014, a nearly 11% increase from 2013. This visitor spending directly supported 2,850 jobs in the community and translated into over $8.1 million in local tax receipts that went into the city’s general fund to help pay for vital services and infrastructure.
Gaul also reported that Oceanside is perfectly poised to continue its growth by tapping into current industry trends– such as authentic, transformative experiences, multi-generational travel and technology– that are conducive to the area’s four core strengths: outdoor, culinary, culture and family.
“In Oceanside, visitors can paint with a local artist through the Oceanside Museum of Art’s Palette to Palate program, participate in a hands-on lesson in craft beer with one of our local brew masters or “Be A Hero” through team building experiences with local fireman, marines and navy seals,” said Gaul. “These are also great examples of how the city is providing the type of authentic, unforgettable adventures today’s visitor seeks.”
Following her State of Tourism address, Gaul shared a highlight video recognizing the accomplishments of Visit Oceanside in 2014.
During the event, Visit Oceanside also presented its annual awards to outstanding industry partners, as well as its fourth annual Hospitality Scholarship to a Mira Costa College student.
The 2015 award recipients included:
- Hospitality Partner of the Year: Sara Schmidt, Courtyard by Marriott Oceanside
- Industry Partner of the Year: Rick Wright, Executive Director, MainStreet Oceanside
- Local Champion Award: Larry Hatter, Honor Bowl Football Championships
- California Welcome Center Volunteers of the Year: Carola Grove, Flo Livers, and Charlene Yoh
- Visit Oceanside/Mira Costa Scholarship Award: Sharin Kinsey, Hospitality student, Mira Costa College
Visit Oceanside welcomed keynote speaker Shannon Grey to discuss the power of perception. As humans, we are innately programmed to heed warnings from others. Our “negative bias” towards information we receive is a survival strategy holdover from our hunter/gatherer days, but unfortunately it also means that negative reviews and/or a bad reputation can seriously limit the potential of tourism as an economic engine in a place. This topic explored human nature as it pertains to developing perceptions, why word of mouth is so important to our decision-making, and why it is so important that communities support their own tourism efforts.
The Oceanside Tourism Summit is coordinated in partnership with the City of Oceanside Economic Development Department.