San Jose kicks off tourism return after COVID travel collapse

SAN JOSE — Business leaders launched a quest Thursday to recoup the mammoth amounts of travel and leisure business that San Jose has lost due to coronavirus-related economic shutdowns.

“San Jose is open for business,” said Derrick Seaver, general manager of the San Jose Chamber of Commerce.

Still, San Jose’s comeback trail will be nothing short of strenuous and challenging as the area’s leisure, hospitality and travel sector has plunged in the wake of the coronavirus.

For one thing, San Jose is lagging far behind national trends in terms of business and leisure travel resuming in the city of South Bay.

Nationally, projected business travel revenue in 2022 is expected to fall 23.1% from 2019, the last full year before the outbreak of the coronavirus and the imposition of wide-ranging business closures ordered by the government to combat the deadly bug, according to a Kalibri Labs study that was published by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

San Jose, on the other hand, is expected to experience a 51.8% drop in business travel revenue in 2022 from 2019. San Francisco is even worse, with a projected 68.8% drop in travel revenue business.

National leisure travel revenues in 2022 are expected to be just 0.7% lower than in 2019.

San Jose’s 2022 leisure travel revenue is expected to decline 16% in 2022 from 2019. San Francisco is expected to see a 42% decline in leisure travel this year from 2019, the association reported. hotelier.

That drop means lost money and lost jobs, said Chip Rogers, chief executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

“We’re here to encourage people to get back on the road,” Rogers said.

The decline in business and leisure travel revenue equates to $744 million in lost revenue forecast for 2022 compared to pre-COVID totals for 2019.

“We need a consistent message from our city leaders and health departments that we’re open for business,” Seaver said.

Executives pointed to the opening of the Signia by Hilton hotel, the former Fairmont San Jose, as an indication of a recovery in Silicon Valley‘s business and leisure travel sectors.

“Opening the Signia is a big milestone,” Seaver said. “Hilton sees something in San Jose. Not only for leisure travel but also for business travel.

Another hopeful landmark: Conventions have started to return to downtown San Jose, according to Team San Jose, the city’s main convention and visitor bureau.

Upcoming conventions include three in May: SID Display Week, a signage and display group; CLEO, a laser science and photo-optics organization; and Famine Con, a cosplay and anime convention.

In August, downtown San Jose will host Silicon with Adam Savage, a big comics con reunion.

“San Jose is gearing up to see an increase in leisure travel as summer approaches,” said Laura Chmielewski, vice president of Team San Jose. “We are optimistic that large meetings and conferences will return to the city, which is a major economic driver.”

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