California is typically a desirable vacation destination that doesn’t need to grease palms to attract visitors. The pandemic, however, has devastated tourism economies around the United States, no matter how robust they usually are. That’s why Santa Maria Valley, located about 65 miles north of Santa Barbara, is launching a new program to attract tourists in an effort to help local businesses.
The “Visit Santa Maria Valley” program runs from February 4 to March 31, and will pay tourists $100 to travel there and stay a minimum of two nights at a local hotel. The payment is made in the form of a voucher, usable at any of the town’s restaurants, breweries, or wineries.
Jennifer Harrison, director of the Santa Maria Valley Visitors Bureau, told CNN, “Santa Maria Valley has so much to offer. We have beautiful beaches, hotels and wineries that are such a great option for budget-conscious travelers during a time of economic rebound.”
Harrison went on to note that since Santa Maria Valley is less crowded than other California destinations, it’s easier to enforce social distancing guidelines and keep tourists safe. “Our wine-tasting rooms, outdoor spaces, restaurants and hotels,” she said, “have worked together to evolve health and safety protocols so that visitors can experience the charm of the area.”
With 13 beaches, 34 tasting rooms, and an abundance of hiking, golfing, and birdwatching activities on hand, it’s pretty easy to safely explore the area and support local businesses — all while saving $100.