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Saturday, Oct 1, 2022
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Out of Town Visitors Make Travel Plans Based on the Weather Forecast

Over a breakfast of crab cakes Florentine at the World Famous restaurant and bar on the west side of Pacific Beach Drive recently, I realized just how much I love San Diego’s “shoulder season” , that time of year when the beaches are mostly ours, save for the Coloradans on spring break.

If you call ahead to make a reservation, you can get a patio table by the window, where you can watch surfers catch waves and online skaters zigzag between pedestrians on the boardwalk. The living postcard view is great, and so is the food. Parking can be a challenge, but there’s valet service.

Meanwhile, occupancy at the county’s hotels was down 2.6 percent to 61.6 percent in January compared with the same year-ago month, according to the latest statistics from Smith Travel Research. As a result, the county tied with Dallas to place No. 10 among the top 25 U.S. destinations tracked by the researcher. That’s OK. It’s the shoulder season.

But here’s hoping for a few more Santa Anas , global warming aside , so that we locals can enjoy the luxury of spacing our beach towels a comfortable distance from one another before the start of the high tourism season. Depending on whether we have our usual June gloom this year, the first wave of visitors will descend in July. If June chances to be sunny, however, they’ll start coming then.

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Out of town visitors make their travel plans based on the weather forecast. But the summertime, which is normally sunny, is when the county’s lodging industry catches up from behind, such as last year when it went from 11th place in January to end the year in the No. 4 position among the top-ranked destinations.

As one who makes a living writing on the business of tourism and hospitality, I’m torn. There’s plenty of news to report, what with all the new hotels going up. But it’s hard to find a spot to park your beach towel during the summer unless you stake it out well before sunup. And I predict it will get even more difficult when all those hotels start opening up within the next couple of years.

Maybe they’ll be smart in the gift shops and sell smaller beach towels.

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Protecting Sharks:

In mid-February, the Mexican government published a new set of regulations for the protection of sharks. This is important because sharks, which are at the top of the ocean food chain, are being decimated not just for their meat, but more so for their fins, as shark fin soup is thought to have special curative powers in some Asian cultures.

The new regulations provide protections for great white sharks, whale sharks, basking sharks and manta rays. These new rules will come close to the protections California gives sharks.

“Mexico has taken a real leadership position among Latin American countries,” said Patric Douglas, chief executive officer of SharkDiver, a shark cage diving company based in San Diego. Cage diving to observe white sharks is growing in popularity among tourists. Shark cage diving has grown from a $40,000 industry with one boat leased by Douglas five years ago to a $2.8 million industry today with six boats , four of which are leased by Douglas.

In the past few years, Isla Guadalupe, 210 miles southwest of San Diego, off the Baja coastline, has been recognized as one of the few places where large congregations of great white sharks appear each year.

Mexico’s new rules have the broad support of researchers, scientists, conservation groups and eco-tour operations, Douglas said. For more information, visit sharkdiver.com.


Send tourism and hospitality news to Connie Lewis via e-mail:

clewis@sdbj.com.

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