Living on an island completely dependent on visitors means that we celebrate travel – and travelers – every day of the year. The rest of the country, however, celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week the first full week in May.
First celebrated more than three decades ago to bring attention to the economic importance of the travel industry, National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to celebrate one of the country’s largest industries.
On Catalina Island, nearly every job is wholly dependent on the tourism industry. Tourism funds our school, our first responders and our infrastructure. It provides money for utilities, subsidizes our stores and is the reason businesses can afford to hire employees. Without travel and tourism, Catalina Island would look much like the rest of the Channel Islands – occupied either by the military or the National Park Service. Instead, at the turn of the century the Banning Brothers; and later the Wrigley family, saw Catalina Island travel as Avalon’s future. Thanks to their hard work and investment as well as the hard work and investment of thousands of other residents, Catalina Island is the tourism mecca that it is today.
This year’s theme for National Travel and Tourism Week is Travel is ________. On Catalina Island, it’s easy to fill in that blank, because here, Travel is Everything. Happy traveling.