Written by The Business Journal Staff
The state’s tourism industry set new records in 2016, and the Central Valley region also reaped the rewards of increased travel and spending in the area.
Total direct travel spending in California was $126.3 billion last year, up 3.1 percent over 2015, according to a 2016 economic impact report completed by Dean Runyan Associates and commissioned by Visit California, a nonprofit that markets the state as a tourist destination.
Direct travel generated employment of nearly 1.1 million people in California last year, a 3.4 percent increase over 2015.
Travel-generated state and local tax revenue was $10.3 billion last year, up 3.8 percent over the year prior.
The Central Valley region as a whole, which in this report stretches from Kern County to the north near Redding, saw $6.62 billion in direct travel spending last year, up 0.3 percent from 2015 and 3.2 percent since 1994.
Central Valley travel-generated employment was also up 1.9 percent last year for a total of about 74,800 people compared to 2015.
Fresno County saw $41.9 million in local tax revenue and $71 million in state tax revenue due to travel last year, for a total of $113 million, or $370 per Fresno County household.
Kings County saw $2.9 million in local and $8.9 million in state travel related tax revenue last year for a total of $11.7 million, or $290 per Kings County household.
Madera County saw $9.1 million in local and $14 million in state tax revenue, for a total of $23.1 million, or $520 per household last year.
Tulare County saw $14.6 million in local and $23.7 million in state tax revenue for a total of $38.3 million, or $280 per household.
The report was a welcome shot in the arm to Golden State tourism officials.
“This report shows that tourism is a powerhouse that generates community benefits and economic value for all Californians,” said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. “California Tourism Month provides an opportunity to celebrate tourism as an important pillar of our economy, and highlight an effective and dynamic industry that remains a vital asset in all regions of the state.”