Ventura County Lodging Association, which operates under the name Ventura County Coast, has launched a virtual tour to assure meeting planners it is safe to schedule in-person conferences and trade shows at local hotels.

The “Clean + Safe Meeting and Event Guidelines” tour debuted last week, featuring a look at the event space inside the Ventura Beach Marriott with information on cleaning protocols, safety suggestions and meeting considerations. The campaign, in partnership with the California Hotel & Lodging Association, aims to garner support for the adoption of statewide meeting and event guidelines and begin reopening venues for corporate and private events.

According to Ventura County Coast, California is the only state still limiting hotels and lodging properties from hosting events such as conferences and trade shows. These events account for a major portion of Ventura County's tourism industry, with spending by travelers totalling more than $1.8 billion in direct spending annually and supporting over 17,000 jobs, according to data provided by Visit California and Dean Runyan Associates. Those revenues are down more than 45 percent because of the pandemic.

“We need to do everything possible to protect the 17,000 jobs and $57 million in local tax revenues that travel generated for our county prior to the pandemic,” Brian Tucker, executive director of the Ventura County Lodging Association, said in a press release. “With nearly half of spending coming from visitors who stay in hotels and other paid accommodations, functional meeting operations are essential to our regional economy.”