California Adds Vacation Incentive to Spur Vaccinations

California will offer six dream vacation incentives to spur more people to get coronavirus vaccinations, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday on the eve of the state awarding $15 million in cash prizes.

Aside from boosting California’s vaccination rate as it lifts most pandemic restrictions Tuesday, the latest promotion aims to jump-start the Golden States travel and tourism industry after more than a year in virtual hibernation because of stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions.

The tourism industry had a sledgehammer taken to it, Newsom said.

Tourism revenues nose-dived from a record $145 billion in 2019 to $65 billion last year as California enacted some of the nation’s toughest restrictions.

But Newsom said it’s safe to return as the state of nearly 40 million people boasts among the nation’s lowest virus transmission rates.

Newsom, a Democrat, faces a likely recall election this fall largely driven by his handling of the pandemic, and his Republican challengers have contended that the prizes are a taxpayer-paid way for him to boost his popularity.