The Oxnard Chamber established a business visits program in 2015 when Greg Nyhoff was Oxnard's city manager. The monthly visits were designed for the city manager to connect with the businesses that generate revenue the city operates with. The visits and tours provide an opportunity for government to understand the challenges of private industry.
By Terry MacRae
Vacations to California’s natural wonders, cultural riches and exciting city attractions fuel stable employment and the world’s fifth largest economy.
Regardless of where travelers go and what they do in California, vacations are more than memories—they also spur one of California’s strongest economic pillars. In fact, tourism drove $132 billion in travel-related spending in 2017, generating $11 billion in state and local tax revenues.
Running a cruises and events company wasn’t exactly the course I expected to take when I studied mechanical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduating and starting my career as an environmental engineer, I quickly rose through the ranks of Industrial Clean Air and later became vice president of sales for Ecolaire Systems Inc. I found myself regularly scouting venues for client and employee events, which is how I discovered and later purchased a small yacht charter company based in Berkeley, California.
Over the last four decades, Hornblower expanded to a 100-vessel, half-billion-dollar company, spanning over 30 ports from coast-to-coast. Today, Hornblower companies employ more than 2,500 people and we take great pride in knowing our business supports so many families.
Pillars of Economy
As you enjoy your next vacation, know you too are fueling many pillars of the state’s economy, which in turn supports jobs for 1.1 million California workers.
California’s tourism industry brings vibrancy to our economic health, vibrancy we see in the faces of the people who make this happy industry hum. It is these employees who help create amazing experiences and maintain California as a desirable travel destination. It is their energy and enthusiasm that melds with the natural beauty of California to create the vibrant experiences California is known to offer.
Whether it’s new Californians looking for employment, retirees seeking seasonal work, summer jobs for students or a second job that bolsters a family’s income, tourism jobs remain stable even in the midst of economic downturns. The service-oriented industry relies on employees—yes, real people—who have a stake in customer satisfaction, and their work cannot be shipped abroad or cut back by automation.
In the midst of the Great Recession, tourism’s employment held strong against other sectors, dipping just 5.6% compared to an overall employment loss of 8.6%. Coming out of the recession, tourism created more new jobs than any other industry—a trend that has reliably continued, with 30,000 new jobs created last year, a faster growth rate than state government, trade or manufacturing. (Source: California Employment Development Department)
Now, with the lowest unemployment rates since 1976 and a growing economy, California is seeing jobs growth slow, due in part to a shortage of workers. The California Foundation for Commerce & Education is projecting a shortfall over the next generation of more than a million graduates of four-year colleges and hundreds of thousands of those with two-year degrees.
Graduates who enter the workforce need qualities that employers urgently seek: Solid communications skills, personal responsibility, and a strong work ethic. Tourism jobs help prepare California’s workforce with exactly these important skills.
Travel and tourism is California’s largest export. International visitors spend more than $25 billion in California a year. That is more than the value of California’s agriculture exports.
To help keep California a desirable location, we must work to provide clean and safe cites and infrastructure necessary for visitors. Not only is it necessary to provide education and training, but we must all commit to provide affordable housing and transportation alternatives for the amazing folks who work in this industry. We must take immediate action and create permanent solutions.
The world has many beautiful places, so we must ensure we are working to maintain the competitiveness of this important pillar of California’s economy.
Secret to Success
On your next vacation, share how much we all appreciate the dedicated employees who help create those fond vacation memories. Take a moment to share your gratitude. These welcoming, hard-working folks may well be the secret to your best vacation ever and the secret to the success of California’s largest export industry: tourism and the jobs we all need.
Terry MacRae, 2018 chair of the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serves as commissioner on the Visit California Board of Directors and is chief executive officer, president and founder of Hornblower Cruises & Events.
As you reflect on your list of New Year’s resolutions, resolve to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the new employment laws that you’ll need to know in 2019.
Employers need to make sure to be aware of new labor laws that could affect them in the new year.
CalChamber’s employment law counsel analyzed the significant bills that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law and prepared a white paper summarizing their effects on California employers.
Read the latest information on:
CalChamber members can access a full discussion of the new laws on HRCalifornia. Not a member? See what CalChamber can do for you.
The Oxnard Chamber is pleased to announce Oxnard Chamber’s Chairperson’s Awards of Excellence recipients at the Chamber's Annual Meeting and Installation of Directors on January 31, 2019. These dedicated individuals and organizations are leaders that greatly contribute to the success of our community.
2019 Chairperson's Awards of Excellence Recipients include:
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin – Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin spearheaded an effort to secure approximately $80 million to fund the Rice Avenue overpass project at Fifth Street in Oxnard. The intersection has been labeled the third most dangerous rail crossing in California. Funding was granted by the California Transportation Commission. The project will be funded by California's increased gas tax. We sincerely thank Assemblymember Irwin for her diligence and persistence to secure funding for the project!
Steve Buenger – Steve stepped up to chair the Chamber's Political Action Committee when we had a vacancy in that position in 2018. Not only did he fill the chair, but he excelled in managing an extremely busy political year. In addition, he was the mastermind behind a very successful fundraiser for the PAC. Thank you, Steve!
Julie Mino – Julie's vocabulary doesn't seem to include the word "no." In fact, she uses the phrase, "How can I help?" quite often. Julie was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Chamber Board in May of 2018. She hasn't missed a meeting and actively participates in Chamber functions. Julie was also instrumental in the success of the PAC fundraiser when she amassed an array of items for prizes and auction items.
Haas Automation – Haas Automation has been a staunch supporter of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce for decades. In addition to their participation on the Board of Directors and overall financial support, in 2018 Haas stepped up and assumed sponsorship of the Oxnard Chamber in the Chambers of Commerce Alliance of Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties when the previous sponsor had to withdraw. Haas is an amazing company that has an incredible impact on our community through their workforce and charitable giving.
Oxnard Young Professionals (OXYP) – The OXYP began in 2017 with a small group of under-40 up-and-coming businesspeople. Their determination and hard work have resulted in a group of about 35 becoming very active in the Ventura County business community. One of the projects they took on in 2018 was to collect gift cards for the teen population at the Greater Oxnard / Port Hueneme Boys & Girls Clubs at Christmas. That sector is many times overlooked during the holidays.
The Chairman's Awards of Excellence will be given out at the Annual Meeting and Installation of Directors on January 31. The luncheon will be at the Residence Inn on Vineyard Avenue.