Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Santa Monica’s Heal the Bay earns California tourism award

The beach in Santa Monica, Calif.
The beach in Santa Monica, Calif.
prayitno/Flickr CC

It was announced last week that environmental advocate group Heal the Bay was awarded the Tourism Stewardship of the Year Award during the 30th Annual California Travel Summit.

The award was created by the California Travel Association “to recognize the group that has done the most to protect, preserve, restore, improve, expand or otherwise enhance California's natural, cultural or historical treasures,” according to a press release from the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Tourism is such a vital part of Santa Monica’s economy,” explained Kim Baker, the vice president of marketing at the Convention & Visitors Bureau by phone today. “In 2011, more than $35 million was generated by our local hotels alone. The city had 6.5 million visitors from outside of Santa Monica County.

“We’ve found through surveys and focus groups that the beach is the most popular aspect of Santa Monica to visitors,” Baker continued. “Given how hard Heal the Bay works on improving water quality and keeping the beaches clean, this recognition is well deserved.”

Among Heal the Bay’s many activities include their annual Beach Report Card, which this year found that L.A. County has seven of the ten most polluted beaches in California.