Image - collage of images showing California tourism landmarks and activities

Past Event

The Future of California Tourism in Challenging Times

Travel and tourism make up one of California’s most important and powerful industries. Every day before the pandemic of 2020, travelers injected hundreds of millions of dollars into communities across the Golden State, infusing hundreds of billions of dollars into the state’s economy. In 2019, this spending generated $12.2 billion in local and state tax revenue and supported 1.2 million jobs for Californians.

That all changed when the pandemic spread in March 2020, and the tourism industry largely shut down, hitting cities like San Francisco particularly hard. The industry recovery began to take shape earlier in 2021. However, just as the pandemic was receding and the tourism economy was starting to recover, the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has again negatively impacted the tourism economy, slowing chances of a full recovery any time soon and raising questions about the future of the industry and, most important, the workers who rely on it for employment. These issues are particularly challenging in the Bay Area, as it is significantly impacted by shifts in tourism to San Francisco.

As one of the most challenging periods in the state's tourism history continues, we are pleased to be joined by two of the state's top tourism leaders, as well as tourism workers directly impacted by the changes brought about by the pandemic, to discuss the future of the industry in the fifth-largest economy in the world, The discussion will touch upon why the tourism economy is so important to the California economy, why travel and tourism is so significant to all Californians, and what we all can do to support the industry and its workers during this challenging time.


This program is funded by a grant from The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness). The foundation’s mission is to improve the health of Californians. Cal Wellness is dedicated to promoting equity through advocacy and access.

California Wellness Foundation

Main image photos courtesy, Visit California, Max Whittaker, ALEXANDRE_NESTORA.

September 10, 2021

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Caroline Beteta

Caroline Beteta

President & CEO, Visit California

Image - Joe D'Alessandro

Joe D'Alessandro

President and CEO, SF Travel

Image - Daniela Puccinelli

Daniela Puccinelli

Director of Event Management, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square

Image - Spud Hilton

Spud Hilton

Former Travel Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; Editor, Where Traveler Magazine, San Francisco Bay Area Edition


9:30 a.m. doors open & check-in
10–11 a.m. program
(all times PDT)