Join us Wednesday for ‘Santa Cruz Is Open’ and see how tourism’s rebirth is shaping up
In our next free event in Lookout’s COVID 2021 series, we explore how local tourism, amusement, museum and other reopenings are shaping up — and what that means for you, your family and the region’s economy.
Between its beaches, the Boardwalk, museums, recreation, live music and more, tourism typically is a $1 billion a year industry in Santa Cruz County and the No. 1 driver of the city of Santa Cruz’s economy.
Now — after a year that saw the industry’s decline — it’s about to open up again.
So what does that mean for jobs and the economy, not to mention the fun that’s in store for you, your family and tourists alike?
Lookout and Event Santa Cruz have assembled an all-star panel to dive into those questions and more. Our “Santa Cruz Is Open” event, set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, includes Visit Santa Cruz County Communications Director Christina Glynn, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk communications chief Kris Reyes, Coast Redwoods Hospitality CEO Bijal Patel and Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Executive Director Robb Woulfe.
From physical changes at hotels and attractions, to steps that museums and other venues are taking to gear up for post-pandemic reboots, our panel will take a look at how the pandemic has changed their approaches and what’s in store for the future. And, yes, while we’ll talk jobs and economics, we also plan to keep things light, too, offering consumers with some quick highlights of the summer and fall to come.
Meet our panelists:
Christina Glynn is a 17-year veteran of the tourism and hospitality industry and serves as communications director for Visit Santa Cruz County, where she heads up the organization’s year-round public relations program, and oversees media relations, content creation and industry relations. In her role, she also serves as film commissioner for the Santa Cruz County Film Commission, a department within Visit Santa Cruz County. Beginning her career at CBS Television Network, she has secured coverage of the county in both domestic and international travel, lifestyle and consumer media outlets.
Bijal Patel has two full-time jobs — serving as the Chairman of California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA), while also being CEO of Santa Cruz-based Coast Redwood Hospitality, which owns and operates a portfolio of hotel and multi-family assets. Coast Redwood Hospitality was founded 44 years ago by Patel’s grandfather, when he purchased a hotel in the San Lorenzo Valley. CHLA is the largest state hospitality association in the U.S., whose members operate almost a quarter million rooms at properties that range in size from small inn operations to hotels with as many as 3,000 rooms. Patel was named by Hotel Management to its prestigious “30 Under 30” list of the hotel industry’s top rising stars for 2019.
Robb Woulfe serves as the executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH). In this role, he provides management expertise in the areas of program development, financial planning, fundraising, operations and marketing. As an advocate for place-based development and community collaboration, Robb regularly presents on topics related to activating public spaces through art, and using innovation and creative practice to build vibrant, livable cities.