COMMUNITY LEADERS HEAD BACK TO THE BEACH
November 01, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel NewsSANTA MONICA, Calif. (November 1, 2007) — Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) hosted the second annual Beach Summit on Tuesday, September 25th. The event kicked off the non-profit, non-member organization’s 25-year anniversary celebration and was a follow up to last year’s summit. The first annual Beach Summit focused on the enhancement of the Santa Monica beach experience and Santa Monica’s brand promise, “Santa Monica…the best way to discover L.A; an unforgettable beach city experience filled with eye-catching people, cutting-edge culture and bold innovations. It is the essence of the California lifestyle”.
More than 70 city officials, community leaders, residents and local business representatives gathered for the open forum, which was held at the beach on the 2600 block of Ocean Front Walk, to discuss the progress made over the last year in the summit’s three key areas of focus: Environmental Stewardship, Amenities and Services and Safety Perceptions.
“The 2006 Beach Summit effected dramatic and positive change in Santa Monica and we anticipate a similar trend from this year’s forum,” said Misti Kerns, President and CEO of SMCVB. “Suggestions taken at last year’s consortium resulted in the implementation of more than a dozen programs to enhance the Santa Monica Beach experience. These improvements will provide residents and visitors with more amenities and services and give them a cleaner and safer beach”.
Noteworthy among these enhanced ideas and changes are: Measure V which adds a tax to raise revenue for managing urban runoff; a “Trash Valet” service in busy areas of the beach during the summer; establishing a tour bus drop at 1920 Main Street allowing for easier beach access; expanding the marketing of beach amenities via the city’s website; and installation of security cameras on the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade for the purpose of police monitoring. The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has also recently designated an officer to patrol the beach.
Projects scheduled for completion in 2007 and 2008 are: the “Beach Greening” Demonstration Project, which will convert a section of the beach parking lot to turf for off-season recreational uses; improving pathway and freeway directional signage for how to get to the beach; and developing a Beach Map to serve as an educational tool for beachgoers about water quality, amenities available and environmental stewardship of the beach.
The clear skies and warm weather offered a comfortable platform for discussion, which saw a myriad of new suggestions for ongoing Santa Monica challenges, including homelessness, bike path safety and the quality of ocean water. Posting water quality reports along the beach was a popular suggestion, which would also educate the visiting public about neighboring safe beaches. Suggested improvements for the restrooms included employing 24-hour bathroom attendants for added safety, as well as making some of the bathroom facilities coin-operated.
“Perception is the key here,” said Council Member Kevin McKeown. “We want to deliver the message that Santa Monica is as safe as it can be, and we want to educate the public about the improvements we’re making.”
Careful consideration will be given to the suggestions gathered from the 2nd annual Beach Summit. The information will be collected and presented to participating city leaders for possible implementation throughout the year. Meanwhile, Santa Monica community leaders continue their efforts to deliver on the brand promise.
“Our goal is to enhance the Santa Monica experience for visitors and residents alike,” said Rosalind Napoli, Regional Director of Public Relations at Loews Hotel Santa Monica. “And we intend to live up to our word.”
The success of the Beach Summit was felt far beyond the Santa Monica shoreline. This month, SMCVB received top honors and a “Best Idea” award for the open forum by the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (WACVB) in Anchorage, Alaska. SMCVB is one of only six bureaus in the Western U.S. and Canada to receive the distinction.
Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. (SMCVB) is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a travel destination. For travel and accommodation information or a free copy of the Official Visitors Guide, the public can write to the Santa Monica Visitor Center, 1920 Main Street Suite B, Santa Monica, CA 90405; call (800) 544-5319 or (310) 393-7593; visit www.santamonica.com; or email email@example.com