Established in 1983 by a congressional resolution, National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is an annual tradition during the first full week of May for the U.S. travel community to celebrate the value travel holds for the economy, business, and personal wellbeing.

“NTTW takes on a special significance this year as the travel and tourism industry looks to rebound from the pandemic,” said Wendy Haase, vice president, Destination Irvine, a division of the Greater Irvine Chamber. “Despite the hardships of the last year, the Irvine hospitality community is ready and eager to welcome back visitors and help drive the city’s recovery efforts.”

The COVID-19 pandemic caused global economic hardship with the travel industry being the hardest hit, even more so than during the Great Recession. *Prior to the pandemic, travel spending in Irvine contributed nearly $781 million to the city’s economy, supporting nearly 6,000 jobs, and generating nearly $50 million in state and local tax revenue. 2020 saw a nearly 57% decline in travel spending and a loss of approximately 1,570 jobs, proving just how important the economic impact of corporate meetings and sporting events are to the Irvine community.

Despite losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, Irvine is well-positioned for recovery, due to case counts and vaccination rates being among the best in the state; along with the long-term health measures implemented and the hospitality community’s commitment to providing an environment aligned with expert protocols for visitor safety.

Destination Irvine’s role of marketing and selling Irvine as a preferred overnight destination for groups, sports events, leisure visitors, and business travelers, will play a significant role in the recovery of travel to the city and lead to increased visitor spending for the betterment of the community.

We are starting to see group business return to Irvine,” Haase said. “April was the third consecutive month our sales team received 20 plus leads for future group business, the most since March 2020. In the past three months, Destination Irvine has booked more than 4,500 room nights worth nearly $1.1 million in economic impact for the city.”

*According to the 2019 and 2020 Visitor Impact reports conducted specifically for Irvine by Dean Runyan Associates, on behalf of Destination Irvine.