The region looks forward to the return of travel with California’s expected June 15 reopening.
May 3, 2021 – The Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) of Orange County, Calif. recognize the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) from May 2-8, 2021. Tourism is a vital part of Orange County’s economy, providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of local residents and making significant contributions to tax revenues that support city services and programs. With the expected reopening of the California economy on June 15, the region looks forward to the return of safe travel and the industry’s rebound. Some notable developments include:
- Anaheim: This summer, the magic is back at the Disneyland® Resort and the highly anticipated Avengers Campus is set to open on June 4. To celebrate, more than 50 Good Neighbor Hotels are currently offering exclusive Anaheim hotel offers. Anaheim visitors can also catch an Angels baseball game while in town with fans now able to return to Angel Stadium.
- Buena Park: Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park will reopen to the public on May 21 for a summer-long 100th Anniversary Celebration featuring all-new lovable costumed characters and the return of Knott’s Summer Nights with live music, DJs and one-of-a-kind food and drink specialties. “The Knott’s Family Reunion” looks to reunite family and friends in a safe and fun environment with new and unforgettable experiences. Guests can experience the brand-new Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair, a 4-D interactive dark ride that pays tribute to the classic attraction from 35 years ago. In addition, the theme park is planning a nightly ceremony featuring multiple attractions lighting up the evening and culminating in a special moment with the redesigned illuminated K-tower.
- Costa Mesa: “Time for Fun” is the theme for the 2021 OC Fair. One of the largest county fairs in the U.S. will welcome guests Wednesday through Sunday between July 16 – August 15. Orange County’s City of the Arts® comes alive with outdoor entertainment at Segerstrom Center for the Arts featuring weeknight dance classes, outdoor movies and performances by acclaimed artists and musicians. The Costa Mesa Art Walk and self-guided audio tour features more than 20 works of art including California Scenario – a 1.6-acre park and sculpture garden. The return of a diverse culinary scene comes alive with expanded dining featuring live entertainment, rooftop bars and the reopening of Orange County’s two Michelin-starred restaurants. Visitors can take advantage of hotels deals throughout the city this spring and summer.
- Huntington Beach: Coming this summer is a new wave of concessions at Huntington State Beach developed by The Prjkt Restaurant Group. The four new beachside concepts will offer elevated menus, a rental kiosk, live entertainment and specialty events, with the first location, The Huntington Beach House, opening in May. Enjoy alfresco dining at the pedestrian-friendly Main Street, experience the weekly Surf City Nights Farmers Market, explore outdoor activities and relax in oceanfront lodging – all in Huntington Beach, Surf City USA.
- Irvine: This summer experience Irvine’s outdoor recreation. The center of Orange County offers more than 16,500 acres of preserved natural habitats and wildlands, including 60+ miles of trails for hiking and biking. For the third straight year, the city’s open space and parks were ranked by the Trust of Public Land as the best in Southern California, and 10th best in the U.S.
- Laguna Beach: The Laguna Art-A-Fair, Sawdust Art Festival, Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, and Pageant of the Masters will all return this summer with event dates from July through September. Starting June 27, the first West Coast institutional solo exhibition by acclaimed photographer Matthew Rolston will be presented at the Laguna Art Museum.
- Newport Beach: A pristine and serene seaside oasis, create memories among a variety of open-air experiences such as boating excursions, al fresco shopping, strolling a charming neighborhood or simply soaking up the sun at the beach. With over 450 restaurants and home to the region’s most creative chefs, Newport Beach specializes in seasonally fresh and locally sourced cuisine, reflecting summer flavors within every bite. Whether you prefer to wake up to an expansive view or breathing in the fresh ocean air along our waterfront, Newport Beach’s premier accommodations are a home away from home with their own unique coastal flair.
While the coronavirus pandemic has left a devastating impact on jobs and businesses, the region remains resilient. Orange County’s tourism industry sees signs of recovery with improving health conditions, expanding vaccine distribution, and an increase in positive travel sentiment. In 2019, the region employed more than 179,000 tourism-related jobs and visitors spent $9.2 billion across Orange County, representing a 3.1 percent increase in spending compared to 2018 (Source: CIC Research, Inc.)
“While the obstacles ahead remain and are ever-changing, what’s truly inspiring is the unbelievable support our industry colleagues are providing each other,” said Kelly Miller, president & CEO, Visit Huntington Beach. “The only way we as destinations, conventions, hotels and attractions will get through this is by working together locally, regionally and across the state. After a year of delayed travel plans, we’re excited to have visitors experience the diverse and vibrant communities of Huntington Beach and Orange County.”
“Tourism is the engine of our local economy,” said Jay Burress, president & CEO, Visit Anaheim. “The reopening of Disneyland signifies that Anaheim and Orange County is open for business, which came just in time for National Travel and Tourism Week. Having our theme parks open again is a day we have been anxiously waiting for and we know this will help jumpstart both our industry and economy.”
As the travel and hospitality workforce rebuilds, the industry will continue showcasing the importance tourism throughout May during California Tourism Month.
“Visitors returning to Irvine means workers are employed and businesses are reopening,” said Wendy Haase, vice president, Destination Irvine. “National Travel and Tourism Weeks gives the industry the platform to fully express the power of travel and the role it plays in Orange County’s economic recovery.”
“As California reopens in June, let us be the first to welcome visitors back to the annual tradition of summer vacation,” said Gary Sherwin, president and CEO, Visit Newport Beach. “This is the moment our world-class hospitality community has been waiting for, and we are ready to do what we do best, roll out the red carpet to all that visit. Whether you dock yourself on the beach, on a boat or simply take in our endless horizon from your hotel balcony, those long days of summer are ready for you and your loved ones here in Newport Beach.”
Orange County looks forward to welcoming all visitors to experience adventurous theme parks, 42 miles of coastline, award-winning restaurants, world-class shopping, arts and culture, and outdoor recreation. “The lively City of Buena Park is eager to welcome back guests this summer to help us celebrate not just the reopening of our fun town but also Knott’s Berry Farm’s 100th Anniversary, said Sara Copping, executive director, Visit Buena Park. “’The Knott’s Family Reunion’ anniversary celebration is the perfect theme as we look forward to greeting tourists and families in a safe and fun environment.”
“We are eager to welcome back visitors to experience our dynamic culinary community, eclectic mix of shopping, vibrant arts and culture scene and summer entertainment at the OC Fair,” said Paulette Lombardi-Fries, President, Travel Costa Mesa.
When traveling, Orange County encourages physical distancing and appropriate face coverings for all activities, while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health and safety guidelines. Learn more about how to travel responsibly through the California Responsible Travel Code.
Anne-Marie Schiefer, Visit Laguna Beach
Erin Rose, Visit Newport Beach
Jennifer Tong, Visit Huntington Beach
Jenny Wedge, Travel Costa Mesa
Lindsay Swanson, Visit Anaheim
Sara Copping, Visit Buena Park
Wendy Haase, Destination Irvine