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Increase in visitors expected as international travel restrictions lifted

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MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Central Coast expects to see an uptick in visitors after international travel restrictions are lifted in the United States.

To prevent further spread of the coronavirus visitors from 33 countries were not allowed to enter the U.S

Starting Monday, international travels must show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result.

“I’ve not seen my family since 2019," said Jatin Mehtf. "I get to have my family that lives on the other side of the world, I get to see them.”

Mehtf family lives in India and because of the pandemic, the only way they were able to communicate was through technology. But now he looks forward to having his family over in just a few weeks for the holidays.

“The more the merrier," said Mehtf. "We've seen an empty house for the last couple of years. So from that perspective, I will take more than less, and cherish that because one thing we realized out of the whole thing is like you never know when you get to see them again.”

However, families will not only be the ones who benefit from the international travel restrictions being lifted. In 2020 Monterey County saw a loss of almost $1.8 billion when it comes to visitor spending.  According to Monterey County Convention and Visitor's Bureau,  international travelers make up about 20% of the revenue spend in Monterey.

"We do anticipate there's that there's a lot of latent demand for destinations like Monterey County," said President and CEO Rob O'Keefe. "So we think that we're going to benefit maybe disproportionately better than most other destinations as those travelers start coming back to the country.”

O'Keefe also said visitors who travel internationally will most likely travel to Monterey during the offseason between October and May.

"That's where we really want to focus on bringing people in," he said. "Summer, we do pretty well as a destination, but that it's those seasons where we need help."

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a former multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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