May 6, 2015

CONTACT: Kylee Jepsen
Sr. Communications Coordinator

Tourist Spending in San Luis Obispo County Grows at
Steady Pace Reaching $1.5 Billion* in 2014
Visit San Luis Obispo County to Celebrate Economic Benefits of Tourism on May 8 at 2pm

(San Luis Obispo County, CA) May 6, 2015 – Visit San Luis Obispo County will celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week on Friday, May 8 to recognize the local and national impact of tourism, a $1.5 billion industry in San Luis Obispo County. Tourism partners and elected officials will come together at the SeaVenture Beach Hotel in Pismo Beach at 2 pm for a photo opportunity to commemorate the industry with a special hand-crafted beach mural designed specifically for the event.

Tourism keeps San Luis Obispo County’s local communities economically vibrant, growing at a 3.3% rate year over year. Industry earnings generated by travel and tourism spending reached its highest number yet, at $470 million, in 2014. Jobs also increased at 2.7% over 2013 and total tourism-related jobs in San Luis Obispo County has reached an all-time high of 17,160 persons employed, making up approximately 10.5% of total employment in the County. Positions include divisions of accommodations, food service, arts, entertainment, recreation, retail, and transportation.

Local and State Tax Receipts totaled $125 million in revenue generated by travel spending, reflecting an 8% and 2.9% increase over 2013 respectively. San Luis Obispo County has also recorded an approximate 9% average increase in Transient Occupancy Tax for the 2013/14 fiscal year.
“Although the numbers are impressive, San Luis Obispo County still has room to improve as compared to its destination competitors,” said Chuck Davison President & CEO of Visit San Luis Obispo County. “The goal of the Tourism Marketing District (TMD), in front of the Board of Supervisors for a final vote on June 10, is to create a unified brand embracing the unique lodging mix with the goal of increasing the average length of stay and overall average daily rates which supports local business in San Luis Obispo County.”

National Travel and Tourism Week is now in its 32nd year and is the official salute to tourism in America. Communities nationwide will unite to showcase the impact of travel with rallies, events and other activities. “This year, we decided to adjust the timing of our annual Tourism Vision Workshop to coincide with National Travel & Tourism Week.” said Davison. “We feel it’s important to show our support and help educate our industry about the benefits of tourism in our region. Not only can our partners learn about this powerful economic driver, but they can take a moment to really celebrate how much tourism has done for us all.”

Visit San Luis Obispo County, the destination marketing organization for the county, continues to position, brand and promote San Luis Obispo County as a preferred destination. Its 2015 Tourism Vision Workshop, to be held the morning of May 8, 2015, will highlight upcoming programs and initiatives for the area and include special presentations by Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California and Jim Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America (KOA). A special award presentation will take place honoring Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau Executive Director, Suzen Brasile, with the Tourism Ambassador Award. Following the workshop, tourism professionals will gather to raise a glass to tourism at the SeaVenture Beach Hotel in Pismo Beach at 2pm. A special media photo opportunity will be coordinated and interview opportunities will be available upon request.

In representation of 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 24-27, 2015. This annual event attracts over 10,000 food and wine lovers as they celebrate the Central Coast lifestyle. Attendance numbers remained steady in 2014 and attracted guests from 22 states, in addition to California, San Luis Obispo County and Australia. Revenues from the four-day event boosted the local economy by $4.48 million, trending closely with 2013.
In addition to stimulating the local economy, tourism is essential to the national economy. Travel and tourism generates $2.1 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy. The industry also represents one of America’s largest employers, supporting more than 15 million jobs with 8 million direct tourism jobs and 7 million indirect induced jobs. Every 1 in 9 jobs depends directly on Travel. Direct spending by domestic and international travelers in the U.S. was $927.9 billion in 2014, averaging $2.5 billion a day, $105.8 million an hour, $1.8 million a minute, and $29,398 a second. Without the tax revenue generated by the travel industry, each U.S. household would pay $1,147 more in taxes. For more information on how you can be involved in National Travel & Tourism Week, contact Visit San Luis Obispo County at

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 500 tourism industry-related businesses including lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, golf courses and retail stores. Visit for story ideas or to request a county Visitor's Guide. For more information, please contact us at 805.541.8000 or
Dean Runyan Associates 2015 Travel Research