Visiting Visalia sees the tourism economy boom

The California meetings market has been slow to recover as it was unable to operate for most of 2020 and into 2021. Spending by international visitors, which was nearly $28 billion in 2019 and were California’s biggest export, plummeted with travel restrictions and stood at just $5.4. billion in 2021. Aided by marketing stimulus funds approved by the Legislature in mid-2021, Visit California has launched initiatives to promote leisure and business travel across the state. One of these initiatives included a new national brand campaign with “Am I Dreaming? which premiered on the Super Bowl pre-game show. The organization also reinstated marketing programs in priority international markets to tap into pent-up demand and entice travelers to choose California for their first long-haul vacation.

Economic projections, prepared by Tourism Economics and released by Visit California earlier this year, showed that travel-related spending will reach $144.6 billion in 2023, almost the same as in 2019. If reached, the tourism economy will have returned to 2019 levels a year earlier than expected a year ago. Spending is now expected to reach $155.9 billion in 2024.

The release of the Economic Impact Report coincides annually with the start of California Tourism Month in May, which the legislature designated in 2016.