Tourism tops $419 mil. in Tulare County for 2017

VISALIA – Tourism was instrumental to Visalia’s success in 2017 with visitor spending reaching $419.6 million in Tulare County, according to the Dean Runyan Associates report released last week by Visit California. The local tourism industry supported 4,460 jobs and generated $35.3 million in state and local tax revenue last year. Statewide, visitors spent a record $132.4 billion, and the tourism industry provided more than 1.14 million jobs for Californians. State and local tax revenue generated by tourism reached $10.9 billion, providing communities like ours with the resources to thrive. 

“Tourism brings economic prosperity to every region in California,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO. “The money visitors spend creates hundreds of thousands of jobs for Californians and generates billions of dollars of tax revenue to fund vital local services.” 


Last year was the eighth consecutive year of tourism growth in the state, a testament to the success of the industry’s innovative strategies designed to maintain California’s market share of visitors. Visalia’s transient occupancy tax, which is added to the city’s general fund, increased 12% in fiscal year 2016/2017 over the previous period. This indicates Visalia is seeing an increase in visitation to Visalia at a rate that mimics what is being seen throughout the state. That is great news for Visalia. 

In 2017, $6 out of every $10 dollars of visitor spending in California was attributable to out-of-state residents. Tax revenues generated by visitor spending are a vital source of income for Tulare County, funding local services such as police, firefighters, roadways, libraries and more. 

“These services improve quality of life for residents here in Visalia as well as enable us to continue to attract tourists and conventioneers to our geographically appealing city where state conventions can ‘Meet in the Middle’,” said Carrie Groover, General Manager of the Visalia Marriott Hotel at the Convention Center and Chair of the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB), a nonprofit organization charged with increasing awareness about the opportunities in Visalia for convention, business and leisure travel. 

Visalia has seen an increase in tourism in part because more people are visiting the national parks just up the road. Sequoia and Kings Canyon had more than 2 million visitors in 2017, many of whom stayed in Visalia hotels, ate in the restaurants, bought gas and shopped in the stores. The Visalia Convention and Visitor Bureau also brought to the city over 12,000 convention attendees in 2017 that had an economic impact of $7.1 million. As international competition continues to grow, Visit California’s statewide marketing efforts allow Visalia to expand its reach and keep pace with other destinations. Last year, the industry invested in 13 international markets to attract visitors from around the world, who typically spend more and stay longer than their domestic counterparts. Once visitors decide to travel to California, VCVB motivates them to visit this region’s unique attractions and destinations, such as the national parks. 

According to Beteta, “Without tourism, every California household would need to pay an additional $810 in taxes each year to keep the state funded at its current level. Given how much tourism contributes to our economy, it is in our shared best interest to keep California a top global destination.” 

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