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La Jolla merchants board launching two tours to try to get people from the beach to businesses

Promotional material describes the upcoming Cove and Cocktails walking tour in La Jolla.
Promotional material describes the upcoming Cove and Cocktails walking tour that the La Jolla Village Merchants Association is organizing.
(La Jolla Village Merchants Association)

The Cove and Cocktails walking tour will visit The Cove, area landmarks and arts institutions and three or more restaurants. The Fam Tour is designed to help tourism workers make Village recommendations to visitors.

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To help draw La Jolla visitors from the beach to the business district, the La Jolla Village Merchants Association is trying two new promotions — including one that will be tested in coming weeks.

One concept is a Cove and Cocktails walking tour and the other is a program to guide employees in tourism-related industries around town to learn about some of the offerings in The Village so they can make recommendations to their customers.

Cove and Cocktails

The Cove and Cocktails walking tour is a guided tour of The Cove followed by a walk to area landmarks and arts institutions, including stops at three or more restaurants on lower Girard Avenue for snacks and specialty cocktails.

“In conjunction with the Sierra Club, we’re going to [discuss] seals, sea lions, cormorants and a walk to Sunny Jim’s Cave,” said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick. “We have 15 attractions on the walk … including some we have not partnered with in the past. The idea is to include art galleries and sips and snacks … at a reasonable price. This is a really exciting opportunity for us.”

Though the details are still being finalized, Rudick said the tours likely will be about three hours starting in the early afternoon. The cost would be $125-$145 per person and include meals. Attendance likely will be capped at 20 people to accommodate local restaurants and galleries.

“We are ready to do some beta testing for this … in the next four weeks,” Rudick said. “We need to map it out and make sure we can do everything in the time we have.

“We are really excited to get this started, but we know there is going to be evolution along the way. We need to be flexible and adaptable. Nothing is set in stone.”

The LJVMA board voted unanimously during its March 8 meeting to support the effort, “allowing the committee to work out logistics, pricing and marketing plans,” said acting President Summer Shoemaker.

La Jolla Village Merchants Association members meet March 8 at the Empress Hotel.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Fam Tour

The Fam Tour, short for “familiarization tour,” was started last month by LJVMA intern Natalie Resendes with kayak tour instructors being taken around The Village to learn about its offerings and make recommendations to those they meet.

“I used to be a [kayak] tour guide in La Jolla Shores … and had a lot of face-to-face time with the tourists that would ask for places to eat or things to do,” Resendes said. “So the last Fam Tour was taking other tour guides from five different companies in La Jolla Shores and we went to a couple of restaurants … and went down to the seals, talked more about The Village and how they can get people to spend more time here overall.”

For the next outing, Resendes said, she will repeat the walking tour with front desk staff from local hotels to help them make recommendations to their guests.

Rudick said the tours are planned to take place “pretty regularly … maybe once a month” with different tourism-related industries. “We want everyone to know what a treasure we are.”

In 2020, the board began looking at ways to attract visitors from area beach landmarks such as the Children’s Pool and The Cove into The Village.

“We have valid research that says 50 percent of the people that go to The Cove don’t come to The Village,” Rudick said at the time. “And of that 50 percent that don’t come to The Village, 100 percent of them are not spending money in The Village. So what can we do to get people from The Cove to The Village?”

Since then, the board has integrated that idea into its annual strategic planning sessions.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com.