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Oceanside tourism jobs
A recent report found that tourism jobs provide “good pay and versatility of employment opportunities,'' despite the common assumption that these jobs are low-wage. File photo.

Tourism jobs provide economic mobility, report finds

REGION — A study of tourism jobs in San Diego’s economy released on Aug. 29 found that many provide “good pay and versatility of employment opportunities,” despite what the study’s authors say is an assumption that these jobs are low-wage.

The report, penned by the San Diego Tourism Authority and the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center, found the range of jobs provide significant social and economic mobility, as more than 70% of jobs in the industry do not require a college degree.

“San Diego’s tourism industry is a powerful engine driving economic and social progress,” said Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “As the industry flourishes throughout our region, San Diego residents benefit from the direct and indirect spending by visitors.

“Tourism plays a vital role in elevating communities, supporting small and large local businesses, creating rewarding career opportunities, and inspiring San Diegans to consider the diverse and abundant options available within the sector,” Coker said.

The authors interviewed more than 500 people in the region.

Tourism Economics estimates there are more than 13,000 tourism job openings in the San Diego region. Slightly more than half of 214,000 total tourism jobs fall within the leisure and hospitality segment. The remaining positions range from finance, information technology, legal services and more.

Direct tourism jobs in the city of San Diego boast an average hourly wage of $28, and adding in indirect tourism jobs, workers in the industry command $32 per hour, the authors write.

“The tourism industry is vital to San Diego’s economy, and to the lives of the residents working in the 214,000 jobs it provides,” said Daniel Enemark, chief economist at the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center. “This report dispels unfair myths about the industry, showing the large number of high-quality tourism jobs.

“It also reveals worker’s priorities and insights for further improving those jobs and attracting future workers,” he said.

In 2022, the tourism industry in the region generated $22 billion.

“These findings change the perception around the value and the quality of tourism jobs within our region and show that tourism offers a viable path to economic and financial well-being through a whole host of channels,” said Nate Kelley, director of research at SDTA.

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