Economic Impact by State, Region and County

Authored by Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.

Impact Report
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Detailed statewide travel impact estimates for California from 2000 to 2017. The report also provides an analysis of transient occupancy tax receipts for local jurisdictions through the 2017 fiscal year.

These economic impacts are based on "statewide visitor trips," which are defined as trips taken by individuals who stay overnight away from home, or travel more than 50 miles one way on a non-routine trip. This definition of a visitor is derived from the California Tourism Marketing Act. Some destinations in California calculate visitation and economic impacts using different definitions of visitors and different data-gathering methods, so figures may not match.


  • Direct travel-related spending in California totaled $132.4 billion in 2017, a 4.8 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Direct travel-generated employment neared 1.14 million, a 3.1 percent increase over 2016.
  • Travel-generated tax revenue topped $10.9 billion.
  • Room demand increased by 1.4 percent.
  • Visitor arrivals on domestic flights increased by 5.6 percent.
  • $6 out of $10 spent at local visitor destinations were attributable to residents of other states and countries.
  • The GDP of the California travel industry was $74.9 billion in 2017, which represents about 2.5 percent of the total GDP of the state.

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A number of historical revisions and methodology adjustments were made in this year’s report to account for newly available source data, leading to a full overhaul of the report from past years.

The California Travel Impacts 2000-2017P Report provides a more accurate assessment of the state’s travel-related spending than ever before. A revised methodology more thoroughly factors in lodging tax receipt data available for jurisdictions across the state. Tax receipts are individually reported by each jurisdiction and allow for a more accurate and consistent determination of lodging moving forward.

*In-state travel includes local transportation and gas, visitor air transportation and other travel.

California’s travel and tourism industry is represented by accommodations, transportation and rental cars, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, gasoline service stations, and other businesses that serve travelers. All of the state's tourism providers benefited from increased visitation in 2017 with direct traveler spending supporting all industry segments in all regions of the state.


Travel-related spending in 2017 supported more than 1.1 million jobs statewide. Direct impacts represent earnings attributable to travel expenditures made directly by travelers at businesses across the state, while indirect impacts are from earnings associated with industries that supply goods and services to tourism businesses.

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