The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) is gearing up for its 25th anniversary Friday, October 19th, celebrating more than two decades as a resource for tourists and the community.
The nonprofit organization, comprised of 25 travel counselors and staff, and a board of 11 community and business leaders, provides information to residents and tourists, increases visitor expenditures, tourism rev- enues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a premier travel destination.
Tourism is a leading profit generator for the city and the Convention & Visitors Bureau plays a role in the success of Santa Monica as a travel destination, according to a spokesman for the organization.
“As a destination with 25 years of history and a strong, passionate team, we view this anniversary as an opportunity to acknowledge our hospitality and community partners,” said Misti Kerns, president and chief executive officer of the bureau. “Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau is much more than an information center; we provide economic stability to the community and valuable services to residents, visitors and our hospitality partners.”
For 25 years, the bureau has targeted and serviced events such as the American Film Market (AFM), CA Boom Design Show, E3 Media & Business Summit and others whose attendees enjoy walking in the community mostly, without creating traffic and congestion in the city, the spokesman said.
The nonprofit, nonmember organization also promotes its products and services to local residents and visitors.
The bureau’s tourism services include accommodation and dining reservations, foreign language translation, information on attractions, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, art exhibits, the official Santa Monica visitor guide, maps, sightseeing and walking-tour information, public transportation information and Big Blue Bus fare cards, Santa Monica gifts and souvenirs, Internet access and sustainable and cultural information stations and wireless access (at the Main Street location).
Destination awareness promoted by the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau helps to raise more than $900 million dollars annually from direct-tourism spending, according to the spokesman.
Money generated contributes to the city’s general fund along with funds collected from the transient occupancy tax. This is a bed tax that is collected from all Santa Monica hotel guests.
Tourists who stay in Santa Monica help the local business economy and bring valuable transient occupancy tax revenue to the city, thereby improving services to residents and enhancing the overall quality of life for locals, according to Kerns.
“This money is vital to the welfare and sustainability of our community as it helps to pay for our city street and park improvements, public safety and amenities and services enjoyed by all,” Kerns said. “How lucky are we to live and work here?”