Visit California Offers New Resources for Counties as Golden State Tourism Thrives
This is a guest blog from Caroline Beteta, the president & CEO of Visit California, the state’s privately funded nonprofit tourism board.
After nine consecutive years of growth, California’s travel and tourism economy continues to surge. Visitors pumped more than $140 billion in travel spending in counties across California last year, stimulating business development and providing Californians with more than one million jobs.
Increased travel spending is leading to record-setting hotel construction and more than $4 billion in annual investments in theme park, restaurant and other tourism-related infrastructure across the state. These projects are creating secondary employment effects, generating high-quality jobs in building and construction.
Tourism Drives Local Economies
Last year, visitor spending generated $11.8 billion in tax revenue for state and local jurisdictions and was among the top three sources of funding for many counties. This revenue helps fund vital programs and infrastructure projects and saves California households an additional $890 in taxes each year to maintain state and local services. That’s enough money to resurface 17,000 miles of two-lane roads or employ 107,000 law enforcement officers.
Tourism Is a Key to Recovery
Visit California helps keep the industry strong and provides important resources to keep businesses and travelers safe and informed. During a crisis, Visit California’s West Coast Travel Facts provides up-to-date information on current conditions, including safety and air quality. Building upon on a year-old collaboration between California, Oregon and Washington, the website helps raise consumer awareness about the many communities that remain open for business during a crisis, while encouraging travelers to return to impacted communities to aid recovery.
Among the site’s tools, the “Current Conditions” map includes live video feeds of air conditions at 22 popular California locations and air quality scores across the state. The “Explore” section features popular itineraries in each state and a handful of multi-state road trips – handy information if travelers decide to re-route. The site also includes important emergency resources in each state and an expanded news section. Counties may want to promote this new site and service to prospective visitors.
It takes more than having the perfect destination to attract visitor dollars. For more than 25 years, Visit California’s marketing programs have delivered billions of dollars of new visitor spending and helped establish California as the number one travel destination in the U.S. Over the next five years, Visit California will be building on this success by investing $500 million in global marketing campaigns to ensure that the state remains a top consideration when travelers around the world are planning a trip.
Learn More and Get Involved
Check out West Coast Travel Facts and read more on economic impact of tourism to your county and the benefits of travel and tourism to California’s economy.