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California Travel-Related Spend & Visitation Forecast (September update)

Tourism Economics

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


  • Tourism spending in California dropped to $65.10 billion in 2020, only 45% 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 79.0% of 2019 levels in 2021, while international spending will only recover to 18.1%.
  • Total travel-related spending in California is not expected to reach pre-coronavirus levels until 2024.
  • Overall, Leisure travel (person trips) could recover to 79.6% of 2019 volume in 2021, while Business-related travel will only recover to 50.2%.

Source: Tourism Economics

Total visitor travel spending reached $65.1 billion in 2020, a decrease of 55.1% over 2019 visitor spending. Total spending for California is forecast to grow to $97.3 billion in 2021.

Tourism Economics

Total visits to California reached 140.6 million in 2020, a decrease of 50.8% from 2019. California total visitation is expected to increase by 50.8% to 212.5 million visitors in 2021.

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Tourism Economics

Inbound travel spending fell 81.2% in 2020, and is expected to reach $5.1 billion, or 18.1% of 2019 spending in 2021.

Tourism Economics

International visitation to California fell 79.2% in 2020 and is expected to reach 22.6% of 2019 volume in 2021

Total Domestic Annual Spending & Visitation

Tourism Economics

Domestic travel spending fell 48.8% in 2020. It is expected to reach 79.0% of 2019 levels this year. Recovery to 2019 levels is not expected until 2023.

Tourism Economics

Domestic visitation fell 48.9% in 2020, especially due to steep declines in business travel. Domestic travel is expected to rebound to 77.7% of 2019 levels in 2021.