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Santa Maria Tourism Increases By 9 Percent

The Santa Maria Visitor’s Bureau says the city’s transient occupancy tax revenue has jumped from 3 percent to 12 percent in the past year and credits the 9 percent jump to social media.

Kathy McPike operates The Berry Stop in Santa Maria.

She says in the two years the stand has been open, customers have traveled from across the country and the world.

“People that are here are traveling from Europe, we get people from Australia,” said McPike.”

McPike says despite how far tourists have traveled, they always seem captivated by the fresh strawberries for purchase on the side of the road.

The visitor’s bureau says an increase in tourism translates to close to $3 million for the city.

The chamber of commerce credits social media sites like Twitter and Facebook for boosting tourism, especially during times when the city lacked the funds to advertise.

Jean-Luc Garon, general manager for the Radisson Hotel, has seen a 15 percent increase in sales. He says this is not only good for business but also for employees because “everybody is getting 40 hours sometimes a little bit more.”

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