Hurt by the pandemic, a small town in California will pay tourists to visit

When California’s governor announced a second statewide lockdown in December, businesses across the state braced for more economic hardship.

For one small town, it was a wake-up call to develop a plan to help the local businesses. The result was the “Visit Santa Maria Valley” program, which will pay tourists 100 dollars to travel there and stay for a minimum of two nights at a hotel in the area.

The payment comes in the form of a voucher that can be used at any of the town’s wineries, breweries or restaurants. The promotion runs until March 31.

Santa Maria Valley offers many of the same amenities as the more well-known California destinations, but at a lower price, officials said.

Indeed, the Central Coast region boasts 13 beaches and 34 tasting rooms all within a 30-minute drive, according to the Santa Maria Valley website which lists dozens of activities including hiking, golfing, art exploration and birdwatching.

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