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Santa Cruz Tourism in Pretty Good Shape, Say Surf City Experts


If you think Santa Cruz has good reason to cheer about its #2 rank as a best university town for surfing, then you may hear the locals celebrating with yet more accolades. While the heat of  a surf competition seems to have subsided in the controversy over who's the REAL Surf City (a battle that went all the way to the judicial system with both sides awarded rights to call themselves Surf City), the Bay Area destination has spent time during the this latest economic down cycle studying its assets, its strengths and weaknesses, and has determined that Santa Cruz is in pretty good shape, all things considered.


While those who live in Santa Cruz, go to school there or work to promote the city already know that Santa Cruz is cool,  tourists' numbers yield a recent 10% drop in visitor hotel stays (5% less than its Surf City counterpart) Santa Cruz is bullish on its attractions, natural assets and its location that's just perfect for Central Valley visitors.


In addition to being just miles from Silicon Valley and California's second largest city (San Jose), Santa Cruz also celebrated the Santa Cruz Boardwalk 100-year birthday as its top beach attraction and most authentic beach experience in California proves that some things just get better with time.


Add to that its fame as a surfer's paradise, the redwood forests that offer nature hikes and the world famous summer beach train, and an ambiance as a Mediterranean jewel with small hamlets and beach cities such as Capitola by the Sea, Aptos and Seaside, and you have the ingredients for a brand of fun that can only be described as paradise!


It should be no surprise that Santa Cruz reflects the nation's economic conditions when it announced a downturn of 10% transient occupancy tax revenue this year compared to 2008, based on hotel occupancy. The CEO and executive vice president of the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council, the official tourism arm for the region, was not shy recently when she stated these numbers openly in a California Tourism publication.  Maggie Ivy,  the bureau's chief, said, that like the rest of the tourism partners comprising California and its beaches, Santa Cruz will weather this storm not only by accommodating the millions of people that select Santa Cruz as their vacation, but through new programs launched to offer added value to vacations, or compelling reasons to see the scenic coastline.




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