2021 Oceanside Tourism Summit


The event highlights included honoring the resiliency and ingenuity of O’side business along with a ribbon cutting symbolizing the reopening of our tourism economy.

The tenth annual Oceanside Tourism Summit, held at the Oceanside Civic Center Plaza on June 22nd, was a time to come together and celebrate the resiliency of local businesses and the reopening of Oceanside to visitors. While 2020 did bring a virtual halt to our industry, Oceanside is on track to quickly reach pre-pandemic visitor spending once more.

According to our visitor impact study by Dean Runyan, visitor spending in Oceanside was down 28% in 2020.  By comparison however, California experienced an overall decline of 55%.

During that timeframe Oceanside generated nearly $302 million in visitor spending.  This visitor spending is critical for our small businesses because 74% goes directly to sectors other than lodging.  In fact, the majority is spent on dining, followed by lodging, attractions and museums. It is important to note that this direct spending translated into nearly $10 million in local tax receipts which helps provide important funding for critical city services like safety, education and infrastructure improvements.  This was down by about 24% over the previous year, 2019.

While economic recovery remains a top priority, Visit Oceanside will put an increased emphasis on responsible growth in the coming year. This sustainable tourism approach will drive a variety of initiatives from growing demand midweek and during shoulder seasons, to supporting the diversification of product offerings, especially in areas of the city that don’t traditionally attract a large tourism audience. Expanding support for community programs such as environmental and preservation programs and youth scholarships are other ways Visit Oceanside will share what it calls a “tourism cares” approach to destination marketing.

“It’s going to be important that we continue to collaborate with the City and be purposeful in our efforts to influence future investment into our community.  Whether it’s infrastructure improvements, product development or beautification.  We want to make sure it’s done thoughtfully to leverage full economic impact,” said Leslee Gaul, CEO of Visit Oceanside.

Visit Oceanside also awarded several local industry champions. Recipients included:

  • Industry Partner of the Year: Vallie Gilley, O’side Kitchen Collaborative
  • Lodging Partner of the Year: Maria Bello with the Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Courtyard in Oceanside
  • Local Tourism Champion: Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Visit Oceanside Industry Champion of the Year: Mike Bone
  • Congressman Levin’s Congressional Recognition for Volunteerism: Connie Gentili, Carola Grove, Richard Kahl, Pat Raetz, Charlene Yoh

Thank you to the City of Oceanside’s Economic Development for their ongoing partnership and support. Special thank you to our vendors who helped make our tenth annual Tourism Summit a huge success: Beach House Winery, Coomber Craft Wines, Green Oceanside, KOCT, Miller’s Table, O’side Kitchen Collaborative, and Pride by Beach. We’d also like to recognize Mainstreet Oceanside and the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce for their assistance.

Visit Oceanside is the sales and marketing engine for Oceanside’s tourism industry. Through distinctive branding, cooperative marketing opportunities, group sales initiatives and public relations strategies, Visit Oceanside promotes travel to the city for both leisure and business.

Published: July 5, 2021

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