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Economic Impact


In the first half of FY19/20, California's tourism industry capped a decade of uninterrupted growth with record-setting revenues. This is an accomplishment in which we can all take pride — one which the numbers show benefits to every region of the state, providing employment for more than one million Californians and funding for essential government programs.    

These gains were erased overnight by the near-total suspension of travel resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite severe losses and budget cuts, California’s historically resilient tourism industry has pivoted to the work of reopening. While recent forecasts indicate that recovery could take as long as five years, there is every indication that together, we can shorten this window and restore travel and tourism.  
Paula Beck Sig
Paula Beck
Vice Chair of Operations, Visit California
Vice President of Global Accounts - West, Avis Budget Group

California Tourism's Record Growth Ends
Source: Dean Runyan Associates, Inc., Oxford Economics


A Five-Year Recovery
A Tourism Economics forecast from June 2020 shows a considerable period of recovery before a return to the record-setting revenues of 2019. However, this is a faster recovery than what has been forecast for the rest of the U.S.

5-year economic impact forecast 
Source: Tourism Economics, June 2020. View the most recent five-year forecast.

Record Success in 2019
California tourism businesses in every region achieved record-high visitor spending in 2019. See the breakdown by region and county in the 2019 Economic Impact Report.

$144.9 B
Visitor Spending
1.2 M
$12.2 B
State & Local Tax Revenues

*Statistics reflect the 2019 calendar year. Source: Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.


California Travel Spending by Industry Segment
2019's record visitor spending benefitted every tourism segment.

Source: Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.


Hotel KPIs
California has a long track record of outperforming the national average in hotel occupancy and revenue. Despite the heavy impact of California's travel restrictions on the accommodations sector, the state's hotels have remained in lockstep with the U.S. average and show a promising trajectory of growth.

Source: STR, June 2020