San Diego’s reliance on tourism leaves the city in a tough spot financially amidst pandemic

Written by Joey Brasil

The ongoing pandemic has exposed how reliant San Diego’s budget is on tourism. 

Per Todd Gloria, prior to the bailout by the federal government, the city discussed tremendous cuts along with a “structural budget deficit.” 

The hotel room tax, or the Transient Occupancy Tax, contributed so much to the city’s budget that the city was not prepared for the downfall that followed as a result of the pandemic. 

Per Alan Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego, “San Diego is a big tourist destination, so when a lot of people stayed at hotels, the TOT then brought a lot of revenue as far as the city’s concerned, and not having it blows a big hole in the city’s budget.”

San Diego isn’t expecting to go back to normal times, in regard to tourism, until half a decade has gone by. Therefore, the city needs to cut all the unnecessary expenditures out of its budget. Getting rid of the unnecessary spending won’t solve San Diego’s reliance on tourism, but it would relieve the budget somewhat by lessening costs that the city currently faces. 

While the budget is not a huge problem at the moment, that is only because congressional demcorats passed a COVID-19 relief bill that bailed out big cities. When those additional funds dry up, San Diego will still face its extreme reliance on tourism.