Tourism Slowly Recovers In Napa Valley

Posted: Aug 10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered what’s usually vacation season for millions of people. International travel isn’t an option because U.S. residents are not welcome in most countries. Domestic flights are down as well. Many travelers say they’re uneasy about spending hours in close quarters on airplanes. But people are still traveling this summer — they’re just staying closer to home.

KCRW talks about this summer’s travel trends with Kathy Janega-Dykes, CEO of Visit Santa Barbara, and Linsey Gallagher, president of Visit Napa Valley.

[KCRW:] What happened to Santa Barbara’s travel sector in May and June, the months after the pandemic?

Kathy Janega-Dykes: “Tourism and leisure travel weren't permitted to reopen at hotels until June 12. And that's when we launched a very soft marketing campaign. Our resources are very limited right now. So we're being very specific on who we're targeting. And primarily it’s people in the south, and then also to the north, who have an affinity to Santa Barbara. Compared to performance at some of the other southern California destinations, particularly the beach towns, Santa Barbara has been doing moderately better.”

[KCRW:] Napa Valley has ample patios, but has the city gone further and shut down roads so people can spread out more?

Linsey Gallagher: “Yes, absolutely. We have that happening in downtown Napa as well as the towns of Calistoga, Yountville, St. Helena and American Canyon. And the county has relaxed those outdoor patio requirements as well.

We've had the same thing with our wineries. There has been a little bit of confusion of late whether or not the wineries are open. And I just want to reiterate that our Napa Valley wineries are in fact open for outdoor tasting experiences. You'll be seated outside with plenty of physical distancing between parties. We also have a mask ordinance in Napa County. So everybody is expected to be wearing a mask and to comply with all of the social distancing protocols.”

By Matt Guilhem
August 6, 2020
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