California tourism on the rise

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Travelers to the Golden State collectively spent more than $122 billion in 2015, proving the travel and tourism industry is continuing to propel California’s economy forward.

An annual economic impact report released by Visit California, a nonprofit statewide organization that promotes California on behalf of the state’s tourism industry, shows that direct visitor spending increased 3.4 percent from 2014, as tourism’s economic engine continues to benefit all Californians by generating more than 1 million jobs and significant tax revenue in all counties across the state.

“The power of tourism to improve quality of life in California is evident from this report,” said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. “The ripple effect from a sixth consecutive record year of tourism is driving economic development and community benefits across the state.”

Tourism spending spurred $9.9 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2015, empowering local governments to invest in infrastructure improvements and innovative projects that provide cultural and civic amenities for residents and visitors alike. An analysis of data compiled by Dodge Market Research report found that from 2006 to 2015 new building and renovation projects in California related to tourism reached $20 billion, with an average of $2 billion in infrastructure investments per year. This includes airport modernizations, new dining, entertainment and retail districts and other cultural and civic amenities that benefit visitors and residents alike.

Visit California’s report includes the economic benefits of leading tourism sectors such as hotels, rental cars and retail as well as the statewide and county-by-county benefits. Out of California’s 58 counties, 51 saw an increase in direct travel spending compared to 2014, including:

Fresno: $1.41 billion in traveler spending, up from $1.38 billion (1.8 percent increase)
Los Angeles: $25.88 billion in traveler spending, up from $25.23 billion (2.6 percent increase)
Monterey: $2.71 billion in traveler spending, up from $2.59 billion (4.5 percent increase)
Sacramento: $3.63 billion in traveler spending, up from $3.45 billion (5.3 percent increase)
San Diego: $15.4 billion in traveler spending, up from $14.8 billion (4 percent increase)
San Francisco: $14.29 billion in traveler spending, up from $13.91 billion (2.9 percent increase)
Santa Barbara: $2.06 billion in traveler spending, up from $2.01 billion (2.7 percent increase)
Shasta County: $421.4 million in traveler spending, up from $416 million (1.3 percent increase)

“While California’s natural allure is undeniable, a statewide marketing campaign is necessary to ensure the Golden State remains a top visitor destination globally and that the benefits we have seen over the past several years continue to grow,” Beteta said.

Tourism’s economic benefits are possible because of Visit California’s successful global marketing campaigns that reach target domestic and international visitors.

The release of the new economic impact report is part of Visit California’s celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. Throughout this week, destinations across the state will join communities across the nation to hold events that communicate and celebrate the importance of sustaining the travel industry.

“National Travel and Tourism Week is an important reminder of how travel and tourism touches everyone, and the importance of continuing to highlight our state as a premier travel destination,” Beteta said. “The new report reinforces the importance of reaching potential visitors with an invitation to Dream Big in California.”

This post is sponsored by Visit California, however the opinions are of the author.