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SLO County travel industry reports strong numbers for last year, including record-breaking tourist spending

Pismo Beach
Visitors to Pismo Beach line shoreline just south of the pier on April 6, 2022. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- The San Luis Obispo County travel industry enjoyed an extremely successful and record-breaking year in 2022.

Visit SLO CAL, the countywide destination marketing and management organization for San Luis Obispo County has released tourism-related metrics from last year, which indicate the travel industry is continuing to thrive and remain a financial backbone for the region.

According to Visit SLO CAL, tourism in the county soared to an all-time best $2.15 billion in direct travel spending impact in SLO.

The amount represents an impressive 13.8 percent increase in year over year numbers and a 6
percent increase from 2019, the previous record high ($2.02 billion).

Research also shows San Luis Obispo County welcomed 7.47 million visitors in 2022, which nearly reaching pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

With slightly less tourists visiting in 2022 than 2019, the numbers indicate that travelers spend more last year during their trips.

"We are ecstatic to share the news of our record-breaking year for tourism," said Chuck Davison,
President and CEO of Visit SLO CAL. "Tourism is the number two economic driver in the
region, second only to agriculture. Travel impacts every sector of business and supports local
economies across the globe, including right here in SLO CAL. Visitors support numerous sectors
across SLO CAL including accommodations, transportation, food and beverage, attractions,
retail and more. Between the taxes tourism generates and the local businesses it supports, tourism
plays an important role in positively contributing to the quality of life for our residents."

Other key metrics achieved in San Luis Obispo County in 2022 include:

• SLO CAL’s tourism industry earnings (total after-tax net income for travel including
wages and salary disbursements) $865 million. This is an increase of 16.9 percent year
over year as well as an increase of 6.13 percent from 2019.
• Tourism comprises 9.78% of SLO CAL’s countywide GDP.
• Tourism contributes $62.7 million in transient occupancy tax revenue, which was a 6.3
percent increase year over year.

Looking ahead, Davison and others in the tourism industry are optimistic 2023 will be just as successful, if not more, than last year.

"The summer really looks like it's going to pay strong, which we would expect," said Davison. "We're anticipating this is going to be one of the best years we've ever had from a tourism standpoint, not only summer, but as we drift into fall and into the winter as well." 

Visit SLO CAL is reporting last year's travel-related numbers the same week the U.S. Travel Association is celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week from May 8-12. At the same time, May is also California Travel Month, which is an official state observation to spotlight the economic significance of the travel industry.

Article Topic Follows: Travel
local economy
money and business
san luis obispo county

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Dave Alley

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