Santa Monica - Photo © Donna Balancia
Santa Monica -Photo by Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA — Santa Monica Travel and Tourism is the new name for the Santa Monica tourism bureau.

Formerly known as the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, the private, non-profit organization is responsible for the promotion of Santa Monica as a business and leisure travel destination.

The name was changed to more accurately reflect the city’s mission as a tourism and travel destination.  The organization went by its previous moniker for 33 years.

Misti Kerns is the president and CEO of SMTT.

In addition to a new name, the refresh includes a new website,, a new official visitors guide and map, new photography and promotional video, and newly designed Free Ride shuttles.

Tourism represents an important contribution to the Santa Monica economy. In 2014, tourism accounted for $1.72 billion in economic impact and the sector supported 13,700 jobs that cannot be exported.

The tourism tax, known as the Transient Occupancy Tax, generated $45.5 million for the city’s general fund. The general fund in turn supports city services including schools, parks, libraries, police and fire services.

In 2014, overnight visitors represented 13 percent of Santa Monica’s visitor base, but produced 69 percent of total visitor spending. An important goal for Santa Monica is to continue to convert day visitors into visitor room nights, enabling additional “bed” tax. Santa Monica’s bed tax is 14 percent.

— Donna Balancia