FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 7, 2014

CONTACT: Kylee JepsenDigital Communications Coordinator(805) 541.8000, kyleej@visitsanluisobispocounty.com

San Luis Obispo County and the U.S. Travel Association Celebrate Economic Benefits of Tourism in Local Communities

San Luis Obispo County tourist spending hits $1.3 billion in 2012

(San Luis Obispo County, CA) - Visit San Luis Obispo County has partnered with the U.S. Travel Association and local community partners to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-11, 2014 and quantify its impact on the local community. Tourism continues to be one of the leading industries in San Luis Obispo County generating $1.3 billion* in visitor spending in 2012, which resulted in a 7.3% increase over 2011. Tourism keeps San Luis Obispo County’s local communities economically viable and creates jobs. Industry earnings generated by travel and tourism spending reached $421 million in 2012, with 16,410 persons in San Luis Obispo County employed in tourism-related positions. Jobs range from entry level to managerial, including accommodations, food service, arts, entertainment, recreation, retail, and transportation. A total of $82 million was generated in direct tax receipts supporting San Luis Obispo County in 2012, a $3 million increase over the previous year. San Luis Obispo County has also recorded an approximate 8.5% average increase in Transient Occupancy Tax for the 2012/13 fiscal year.

Visit San Luis Obispo County, the destination marketing organization for the county works to position, brand and promote San Luis Obispo County as a preferred destination for regional, national, and global visitors. Highlighted by its culinary, cultural and coastal aspects, San Luis Obispo County is internationally recognized as a premier wine, food and life-style destination on California's Central Coast.

Creating a strong national identity for San Luis Obispo County, Visit San Luis Obispo County in partnership with Sunset Magazine will present Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, September 25-28, 2014. This annual event attracted over 10,000 food and wine lovers to celebrate the Central Coast lifestyle in 2013. Attendance numbers were up 5.8% over 2012 and saw guests from 33 states in addition to California, San Luis Obispo County and Canada. Revenues from the four-day event boosted the local economy by $4.54million, a 27.2% increase over 2012, reflecting a third consecutive year of growth.

Tourism is important to the national economy. Travel and tourism generated $2.1 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy in 2013. The industry also represents one of America’s largest employers, supporting 14.9 million jobs and 1 in every 9 jobs depends directly on Travel. Direct spending by domestic and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.4 billion a day, $101.4 million an hour, $1.7 million a minute, and $28,154 a second.

“It is now empirical, rather than just anecdotal, that travel is a key driver for improving individual health and strengthening our businesses and economy,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Travel holds measurable benefits for our minds, bodies, relationships, businesses and economy. Travel should be celebrated every day.”

To see a full info-graphic on how Tourism affects San Luis Obispo County, please click here.

About Visit San Luis Obispo County: Visit San Luis Obispo County is the destination marketing organization for San Luis Obispo County, promoting the area as a preferred tourism destination for regional, national and global visitors through advertising, marketing, public relations and group sales. Highlighted by its culinary, cultural and coastal aspects, San Luis Obispo County is internationally recognized as a premier wine, food and life-style destination on California's Central Coast. Visit San Luis Obispo County has a member base comprised of over 500tourism industry-related businesses including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, golf courses and retail stores. We invite you to visit the website at: http://www.visitsanluisobispocounty.com for story ideas or to request a county Visitor's Guide. Additionally, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/VisitSanLuisObispoCounty and follow us @VisitSLOC on Twitter and Instagram. For more information, please contact us at 805.541.8000 or kyleej@visitsanluisobispocounty.com

* Dean Runyan Associates 2012 Travel Research

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