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Tourism industry thriving in SLO County, generating pre-pandemic numbers

PIsmo Pier
Visitors walk along the Pismo Pier on May 8, 2021. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Tourism in San Luis Obispo County is thriving, generating pre-pandemic numbers for travel-related metrics.

Visit SLO CAL, the countywide non-profit destination marketing and management organization for San Luis Obispo County, is reporting the county continues to be an extremely popular travel destination, generating strong revenue for both businesses and the community.

"The desirability of SLO CAL continues to increase due to the wide range of diverse experiences we offer travelers,” said Chuck Davison, President and CEO of Visit SLO CAL. “Along with the support of our investors, valued partners and stakeholders, Visit SLO CAL is energized by stronger lodging occupancy, rates and revenue seen even pre-pandemic."

According to Visit SLO CAL, important county-wide tourism metrics, including Average Daily Rate (ADR), RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) and lodging Occupancy are currently outperforming pre-pandemic numbers.

In addition, Visit SLO CAL has released metrics from last year that highlight the immense success enjoyed by the tourism industry and the county for 2021.

• Travel spending in SLO CAL created $1.78B in direct economic impact*
• Tourism puts 19,760 people to work every day*
• Tourism comprises 8.82% of SLO CAL’s countywide GDP**
• SLO CAL’s tourism industry earned $760M*
• Without the state and local revenue generated by travel and tourism, each SLO CAL
household would need to pay an additional $1,751 in taxes* • Without tourism, each SLO CAL household would need to spend an additional $16,753 annually to create the same economic benefit for the community*
*Source: Dean Runyan, Inc./Visit SLO CAL
**Tourism Economics/Visit SLO CAL/County of San Luis Obispo
*** Source: Dean Runyan, Inc./Visit SLO CAL/US Census

Davison stressed the success of the tourism industry benefits everyone who lives in San Luis Obispo County, particularly as the help fill up generate more than $100 million in tax revenue..

"Those local taxes are offsetting the cost for all of us residents that live here," said Davison. "Paying for emergency services and roads and bridges and the services that we come to expect, so tourism is hugely important to this community and out ability to succeed here long term."

The release of the data coincides with California Tourism Month, as well as National Travel & Tourism Week, which is now being observed across the country May 1-7, 2022.

"National Travel & Tourism Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come and have yet to go," said Davison.

As he looks ahead, Davison sees the tourism industry continuing to enjoy success over the next several months.

"We expect travel to remain strong through the fall," said Davison. "We expect this to be a big summer season. We expect more air service capacity to come on here later this year, which is really going to help us, but as we get into the winter season, and the world continues to reopen, and international travel bounces back, we expect things to slow a little bit here in the market, and we're working hard at Visit SLO CAL to create campaigns to continue to make people aware of this beautiful destination and cause them to travel here."

Article Topic Follows: Travel

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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