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California Travel-Related Spend & Visitation Forecast

Tourism Economics

Forecast of visitation and traveler spending in California with a five-year outlook for the state. 


  • Tourism spending in California dropped to $59.0 billion in 2020, only 41% of the 2019 amount. The last time tourism spending in California was below $60 billion was 1996.
  • Travel-related spending from Domestic visitors is expected to recover to 65% of 2019 levels in 2021, while International spending will only recover to 43%.
  • Travel-related spending in California is not expected to reach pre-coronavirus levels until 2025.
  • Overall, Leisure travel (person trips) could recover to 78% of 2019 volume in 2021, while Business-related travel will only recover to 40%.

Source: Tourism Economics

Total visitor travel spending reached $59.0 billion in 2020, a decrease of 59.3% over 2019 visitor spending. Total spending for California is forecast to grow to $88.5 billion in 2021.

Tourism Economics

Total visitation to California reached 140.6 million in 2020, a decrease of 50.8% from 2019. California total visitation is expected to increase by 45.5% to 204.6 million visitors in 2021.

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Tourism Economics

Following a slight decline in 2019, inbound travel spending fell 79.5% in 2020, and is expected to reach $12.1 billion, or 43% of 2019 spending in 2021.

Tourism Economics

International visitation to California fell 79.2% in 2020 and is expected to reach 48% of 2019 volume in 2021.

Total Domestic Annual Spending & Visitation

Tourism Economics

Domestic travel spending grew a healthy 4.3% year-over-year in 2019 and fell 54.4% in 2020. It is expected to reach 65% of 2019 levels this year. Recovery to 2019 levels is not expected until 2024.

Tourism Economics

Domestic travel grew 1.8% year-over-year in 2019, and fell 48.9% in 2020, due to especially steep declines in business travel. Domestic travel is expected to rebound to 73% of 2019 levels in 2021.