Join us as we host our annual Tourism Luncheon on May 16, 2012!  It’s our time to shine, thank all our partners and reflect on the benefits tourism bestows upon our city. During the first half of this fiscal year, overnight stays in our hotels brought $1,281,161.92 in transient occupancy tax receipts to our city – an increase of 3% over the 2010’s figures. Transient occupancy tax is a 10% tax charged nightly for hotel stays.

This month’s Tourism Luncheon will be held at the Historic Santa Maria Inn from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Inn is located at 801 S. Broadway and there is plenty of parking in the structure behind the hotel.  We will be serving Santa Maria Style Barbecue Tri-Tip at $17 per person. Many thanks to our hosts: owners Judy and Hardy Hearn and Blanche Hollingsead, general manager John Reinacher and director of sales Sarah San Juan.

Every year we bestow the Mayor’s Award upon an event planner who has been instrumental in bringing in groups to the Santa MariaValley.  We are proud to recognize Rich and Penny Pichette, of West Coast Kustoms for bringing us the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals every Memorial Day Weekend for the last several years. This event brings in more visitors than any other held throughout the year – some from as far away as Japan and the Netherlands!  The economic impact this one weekend has on our city is tremendous – as attendees and visitors spend money in our city on lodging, gasoline, food, entertainment, shopping, services and more.

We welcome the Santa Maria High School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Ulises Valdivia, who will be providing live music at this year’s event.

Seating is limited, so please make your reservations by Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by calling (805) 925-2403, ext. 851 or emailing

A Special Thank You During National Travel & Tourism Week…

During these challenging economic times, it makes our job at the Visitor and Convention Bureau so much easier to work with and for, some amazing people.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank:

City Manager Rick Haydon, Mayor Larry Lavagnino and the City Council members Bob Orach, Mike Cordero, Alice Patino and Jack Boysen for their support of our work;

Our Chamber President and CEO, Bob Hatch for his leadership, wisdom and guidance of our organization;

Our Chamber’s 2011-2012 Officers and Board of Directors:

Chairman of the Board: James Bray –  Plains Exploration & Production Company

Chairman Elec/Treasurer: Trent Benedetti – Benedetti & Associates, CPA

Vice Chairman: Donna Randolph – State Farm Insurance

Past-Chairman: Jason Diani – Diani Ward Diani, LLC

2011-12 Board of Directors:

Mark Fugate – Charter Brokerage Investment Co.

Brian Kearns – Coastal Business Finance

Debi Testa – Testa Catering

Peggy Greer – Santa Barbara County Education

George Majoue – Santa Maria Philharmonic

Kathy Simas – Santa Barbara Foundation

Leah West – Santa Lucia Bank

Tim Rooney – Rooney’s Irish Pub

John Tunnell – Tunnell Roofing

Kirk Spry – VTC Enterprises

Donna Cross – Next Day Signs

Erika Weber – VTC Enterprises

Dan Pankratz – One Way Board Shop

Tim Ritchie – Home Motors

Cindy McKellar –  Your People Professionals

Clarence Cabreros – Heritage Oaks Bank

Eddie Murray – Morgan Stanley

Christopher Weir and Malei Weir from Mooncatcher Communications who handle our media relations program with such expertise, efficiency and creativity;

Our Visitor Center Volunteers:

Carolyn McCall, Terri Bosch and Duane Williams

And to the frontline staff members at our Visitor Center, hotels, restaurants and attractions whose excellent customer service is so critical for our continued success and outreach in making our visitors feel welcomed and valued.

THANK YOU! We appreciate all you do!