Huntington Beach, Calif. — June 16, 2023 — Visit Huntington Beach (VHB), the official destination marketing organization of Huntington Beach, Calif., hosted the 2023 Huntington Beach Tourism Summit and connected industry thought leaders, City officials and partners from across Orange County. The event served as a touchpoint with the community and an opportunity to provide tourism updates related to the large events coming to Southern California in the coming years, including the LA 2028 Olympics.  

This year’s event marks the return of the bi-annual Huntington Beach Tourism Summit, which last occurred in 2018 and was placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As tourism in Huntington Beach and Orange County continues to recover, VHB was excited to bring its local and regional partners together to hear from experts in the tourism, action sports, and entertainment industries, as well as economic forecasts for Huntington Beach and updates on regional infrastructure enhancements. 

“A strong destination brand foundation is essential as the world shifts its focus to Southern California and there is more global attention on Huntington Beach,” shared Kelly Miller, president & CEO, VHB. “Huntington Beach is an accessible destination and is prepared to share its gorgeous sunsets, iconic pier, historic surf culture, and world-class resorts with visitors from all over the world.” 

There was an impressive roster of speakers including Tony Strickland, mayor, City of Huntington Beach; Caroline Beteta, president & CEO, Visit California; Zeek Coleman, vice president, Americas, Tourism Economics; and Trever Cartwright, founder/partner, Corragio Group. VHB also unveiled its 2023–2026 Strategic Plan draft, which was created through a collaborative planning process with input from local businesses and residents.  

The program’s Surf City Swell Panel discussed regional aspirations for Orange County in the next 3–5 years with panelists Jeffrey Ball, president & CEO, Orange County Business Council; Kim Bedier, senior vice president & general manager, ocV!BE; Robert Fasulo, executive director, International Surfing Association; and Komal Kumar, interim assistant director, John Wayne Airport. 

The inaugural Surf City USA® Visitor Industry Awards were presented to recognize the best of the Huntington Beach travel and tourism community. The Surf City USA Superstar Award, which recognizes an individual who works in the Huntington Beach visitor industry and who regularly interacts with visitors, guests, and customers, was presented to Robert Wagner, Wagner Charters.  

The Surf City USA Industry Leader Award, which recognizes an individual in a managerial or other leadership role in the Huntington Beach visitor industry, or an organization that positively contributes to the Huntington Beach visitor industry, was presented to Petty Thai, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa.  

The third and final award featured was the Robert Mayer, Sr. Legacy Award. To honor his legacy and contributions to Huntington Beach, Mr. Mayer was posthumously selected as the first honoree. The award, which was accepted by his grandson, will hereafter be presented annually to an individual who exemplifies Robert Mayer’s leadership principles.

This event was made possible through the support of the 2023 Huntington Beach Tourism Summit sponsors. 

  • Platinum sponsors: Code Four, The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel 

  • Silver Sponsors: The Atkins Group, Visit Anaheim 

  • Bronze Sponsors:  Alpha & Omega, Best-VIP, Citizen Relations, Coffey Media Connections, Datafy, the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, Noble Studios, The Orange County Sports Commission, Simpleview, TravelZoo, and TripAdvisor 

Presentations and data featured in the 2023 Huntington Beach Tourism Summit will be available soon at


About Visit Huntington Beach

Visit Huntington Beach is the official destination marketing organization of Huntington Beach, Surf City USA®. One of Southern California’s premier coastal destinations, Huntington Beach is the ideal location for a California family vacation, active outdoor adventure trip or relaxing weekend getaway. With 10 miles of wide-open beaches, Huntington Beach is a destination of choice for vacationers and business travelers alike. To plan your Surf City USA® vacation, or to learn more about Huntington Beach, see the Visit Huntington Beach website at or call 1-800-729-6232 for a free Visitors Guide.


Surf City USA® is a registered mark of Visit Huntington Beach.