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06 Mar  

Santa Monica Travel Leaders Welcome Bipartisan Travel Promotion Act

Photo by Sondra Stocker

Santa Monica welcomed news that the U.S. Congress passed legislation to create economic growth and thousands of new American jobs by welcoming millions more international travelers to the United States. Co-Sponsors Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California were among a majority of Congressional leaders to champion the Travel Promotion Act. President Obama signed the act into law on March 4, 2010.

“We are thrilled about the news that the United States recognizes the importance of competing in the international travel market, as so many other countries are successfully doing, by promoting our diverse destinations and travel policies abroad, all under a collective national brand,” said Misti Kerns, president and CEO of Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We must explain changing travel security policies in order to secure these important visits. This act will benefit every state across America and here at home will support the 16,000 travel-dependent workers in Santa Monica and increase the over 1 billion dollars that is generated by tourism to Santa Monica.”

“This is a historic victory for the U.S. economy and the one in eight American workers whose jobs depend on travel,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.  “The United States Congress has sent a clear message that travel is a high priority to our nation and that tangible steps must be taken to increase travel to and within the United States. We are extremely grateful to the bill’s champions: Senators Reid, Dorgan, Ensign and Klobuchar in the Senate and Representatives Delahunt, Blunt and Farr in the House.”

The Travel Promotion Act establishes a public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier international travel destination and communicate U.S. security and entry policies. According to analysis by Oxford Economics, the bill is estimated to drive $4 billion in new consumer spending annually, provide $321 million in new federal tax revenue each year and create 40,000 U.S. jobs nationwide. Further, it is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Overseas visitors spend an average of more than $4,000 when they visit the United States.

The Travel Promotion Act is modeled after successful state-level initiatives and is funded through a matching program featuring up to $100 million in private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers who do not pay $131 for a visa to enter the United States. The fee is collected once every two years in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization. No money is provided by U.S. taxpayers.

05 Mar  

A Place Called Home

By Kathrin Larson

I was born in Los Angeles and have lived all over the city. I never felt quite as comfortable as I do in Santa Monica. When I moved here I knew this was it – I’m home.

04 Mar  

Why I Love Santa Monica

By Andrew Thomas

Photo by Sondra Stocker

I love Santa Monica because of its beautiful weather and diverse population. I also don’t know of too many cities in which its residents, employees, property owners, and City staff take so much pride. Santa Monica is a great City to call home, whether you live in it or not.

03 Mar  

Putting the Tourism Myth to Rest Once and For All

By Jeff Jarow

Photo by Sondra Stocker

It might seem counterintuitive that those of us who live in Santa Monica benefit from visitors using our streets, browsing our shops and dining at our restaurants. But as a longtime resident, I can tell you I’m extremely grateful for our tourist friends. For one thing, the so-called “bed tax” or Transient Occupancy Tax (better known as the T.O.T.) goes directly into the city’s general fund. And as you probably know, that’s the fund that pays for our police and fire departments, our social services, our road improvements…well, you get the picture.

I’m aware some Santa Monicans equate tourism with traffic congestion. But did you know 72% of our overnight visitors prefer to walk, according to surveys? Can’t say I blame them, either. Santa Monica is so pedestrian-friendly that you don’t need to rent a car—or even ride the bus, in most cases—to get around. For the volume of guests our coastal amenities attract, particularly when compared to the rest of L.A., it’s pretty amazing how manageable the traffic is here.

I’m a board member on Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau. But I also serve on the board of the Ocean Park Neighborhood Association. Maintaining a high quality of life for my family, neighbors and friends is a huge priority for me. The truth is that a thriving tourist trade enhances the lifestyle we enjoy here. In 2006, overnight visitors contributed $30 million to our community from the 14% T.O.T. tax and much more in support for the local economy with their patronage of hotels, restaurants and retailers. Many Santa Monica residents rely on these businesses for income and as tourism thrives, so do they.

For 25 years now, SMCVB has promoted Santa Monica as an international travel destination, and it’s really paying off. With ample T.O.T. revenues, the city can fund our top-notch schools, parks, libraries and other municipal services. In times like these, that’s nothing to take for granted. When you compare Santa Monica to the nation’s many cash-strapped cities, including many in Southern California, you realize how fortunate we are to have a local industry durable enough to sustain itself through The Great Recession. When folks come to “stay and play” in Santa Monica, we all benefit.

02 Mar  

National Tree Hugging Day – March 20

By Tamara Henry


I love how Santa Monica is always on the cutting edge of eco-consciousness! Here are the details for National Tree Hugging Day:

01 Mar  

Buying Local in Santa Monica!

By Jennifer Taylor

Buy Local Santa Monica

I love the fact that Santa Monica has so many unique, independent businesses.  I can get everything I need by foot, bike or bus…from amazing fresh produce at the farmers’ markets, locally-made jewelery (BBB bus token earrings are a favorite!), surfboards, green cleaning products, vintage furniture…and even a proper British pint!  And then there’s that lovely beach….I love Santa Monica!

For more information on how to become part of Buy Local Santa Monica, visit


The opinions of this blog are that of the contributors and do not necessarily depict the position of Santa Monica Convention &
Visitors Bureau. Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau reserves the right to edit or refuse any submitted information.

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