FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2016
Kylee Jepsen, Sr. Communications CoordinatorVisit San Luis Obispo County
Tourist Spending in San Luis Obispo County Grows to $1.58 Billion* in 2015
Visit San Luis Obispo County to Celebrate Economic Benefits of Tourism on May 6 at 1pm
(San Luis Obispo County, CA) May 2, 2016 –Visit San Luis Obispo County will celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week on Friday, May 6 to recognize the local and national impact of tourism, a $1.58 billion industry in San Luis Obispo County. Tourism partners, dignitaries and elected officials will come together at the Fremont Theatre at 1pm for the San Luis Obispo County Tourism Exchange, followed by a reception at the San Luis Obispo Mission de Tolosa Gardens.
Tourism continues to keep San Luis Obispo County’s local communities economically vibrant, growing at a 4% rate over 2014, a 14.0% increase from the previous years’ growth rate. Industry earnings generated by travel and tourism spending reached its highest number yet, at $510 million, in 2015, an increase of $40 million from 2014. Jobs also increased at 4.5% over 2014. Total tourism-related jobs in San Luis Obispo County reached an all-time high of 17,870 persons employed, an increase of 760 jobs in 2015, making up 10.4% of total employment in the County. Positions include divisions of accommodations, food service, arts, entertainment, recreation, retail, and transportation. Local and State Tax Receipts totaled $132 million in revenue generated by travel spending, reflecting a 6% and 1.5% increase over 2014 respectively. San Luis Obispo County also recorded an 8.6% average increase in Transient Occupancy Tax for 2015.
“It’s exciting to see the continued growth and economic impact of tourism in San Luis Obispo County,” said Chuck Davison, President & CEO of Visit San Luis Obispo County. “With the formation of the new Tourism Marketing District, Visit San Luis Obispo County is unifying the county brand and promoting our unique lodging mix. Our goal is to increase awareness and grow the average length of stay, supporting local business throughout San Luis Obispo County.”
San Luis Obispo County is also undergoing many additions to lodging properties and retail space, as well as numerous renovations. “The economic impact of tourism in San Luis Obispo County can also be seen in the development of new properties and renovations occurring throughout the County over the next few years,” said Davison. San Luis Obispo County is poised to see a dozen new properties and developments in the next few years, many focused on the 4-Star experience, including the Hotel Sierra and China Town Development in San Luis Obispo, and two new hotels in Pismo Beach. In the past year, the region has already seen two new properties come into market, the 4-Star Allegretto in Paso Robles and the Springhill Suites in Atascadero, offering over 300 additional rooms to the County. These additions are crucial to the increased demand for hotel rooms in the County. “In particular, the San Luis Obispo County hotel market is currently operating at historically high occupancy levels,” said Brandon Feighner, Director, CBRE Hotels, Valuation and Advisory Services. “Relative to comparable wine country destinations, San Luis Obispo County remains under supplied in terms of available accommodations.” Feighner will be presenting information from the recent PKF San Luis Obispo County lodging forecast study at the San Luis Obispo County Tourism Exchange on May 6th.
National Travel and Tourism Week is now in its 33rd year and is the official salute to tourism in America. Communities nationwide will unite to showcase the impact of travel with rallies, events and other activities. This year, Visit San Luis Obispo County will be celebrating the event with their annual 2016 San Luis Obispo County Tourism Exchange on Friday, May 6th from 1-5pm at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo. The Exchange will offer guests the opportunity to hear the latest industry intelligence and trends from guest speakers, learn from tourism industry experts and network and share strategies with their peers.Attendees will have the exclusive opportunity to hear presentations from:
•Keynote Speaker: Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California: Beteta will provide an update on the State of Tourism in California, major statewide initiatives impacting areas like San Luis Obispo County and the difference Visit California is making with the passage of Dream Big. Beteta is joining San Luis Obispo County for the second straight year during National Travel & Tourism Week. She is regarded as one of the top tourism industry professionals in the nation and Visit San Luis Obispo County is honored to host her.
•Chuck Davison, President & CEO, Visit San Luis Obispo County: Davison will showcase achievements and major initiatives from the Tourism Marketing District’s first year and highlight year two’s strategic direction in an overview of the State of the County Tourism Industry.
•Pat Merrill, Partner, Merrill Research: Merrill Research will present the results of Visit San Luis Obispo County's groundbreaking feeder market Awareness Study.
•Brandon Feighner, Director, CBRE Hotels, Valuation and Advisory Services: Feighner will provide an important look into the San Luis Obispo County lodging community with a lodging forecast through 2017 that includes 600+ rooms coming online in the next few years.
The Exchange will also feature the first annual 2016 San Luis Obispo County Tourism Awards, honoring excellence with awards for best Visitor Destination Experience, Environmental Tourism Excellence, and the Tourism Hero Award. A special honor will be presented to first responders in the recent Morro Rock rescue, where a visitor was recovered via helicopter by the Morro Bay Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol’s Coastal Division Air Operations. Following the Exchange, tourism professionals will gather to raise a glass to tourism at the San Luis Obispo Mission de Tolosa Gardens at 5:30pm.
For more information on how you can be involved in National Travel & Tourism Week or to attend the 2016 Tourism Exchange, contact Visit San Luis Obispo County at [email protected]
•Dean Runyan Associates 2016 Travel Research
About Visit San Luis Obispo County
Visit San Luis Obispo County is the non-profit countywide destination marketing organization. Its goal is to promote San Luis Obispo County through marketing, advertising, public relations, group sales, promotions, events and sponsorship branding the region as a choice destination for regional, national and international travelers alike. Visit San Luis Obispo County works in partnership with tourism industry-related businesses including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, activities, golf courses and retail stores to create a unified marketing approach that promotes the Culinary, Coastal and Cultural assets of the County. For more information, visit www.VisitSanLuisObispoCounty.com