.Pandemic Tourism

California incentivizes vaccines with vacation prizes in ‘Golden State Getaways’ contest


On June 14, 2021, state officials introduced another Covid-19 vaccine incentive program offering six expense-paid vacations throughout the state, including in San Francisco.

The state will select six winners on July 1 for trips for four to San Francisco, Palm Springs, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego. In addition to multi-night hotel stays and dining and entertainment options, each vacation package also comes with a $2,000 cash prize that can be used for expenses during the vacation.

The “Golden State Getaways” packages, along with millions of dollars in cash prize drawings and food and merchandise deals with brands including Taco Bell, Chipotle, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors, are the state’s latest gambit to encourage more residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Some 72% of the state’s adults have received at least one vaccine dose, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday during a briefing at the Port of San Francisco.

“We have seen, week over week, … a 14% increase in administered doses since we initiated the vaccination incentives,” he said, adding that state officials are “confident these vaccine incentives have worked.”

The vacation packages are also an effort to aid the state’s beleaguered tourism and travel industries, which ground nearly to a halt during the last 15 months, due to the pandemic. 

According to Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta, the pandemic erased more than 55% of the state’s $145-billion-per-year tourism industry overnight.

It will also take roughly four years for the tourism industry to return to 2019 levels, according to Beteta.

“One of the key issues for us to get back on track and shorten this recovery curve is to encourage Californians to travel in California,” she said. “It’s like a modern-day act of patriotism if we can spend those dollars here.”

In San Francisco, the vacation package winners will receive a five-night stay at the Hotel Nikko in Union Square, meals at La Mar, Jaranita, Wilder, Westwood and One Market, and four tickets to a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park.

All state residents age 18 and older who have received at least one vaccine dose will be eligible for the vacation package drawings. Vaccinated residents are automatically entered into the drawings.—Bay City News FoundationInformation on the state’s vaccination incentives can be found at covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win.

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