Nanci Sikes, the Executive Director of the Visitors Bureau recently presented the TCVB annual report to the Board of Supervisors reflecting what’s happened and happening in tourism for our area. Here are some of the highlights of that report.
Tourism, like most businesses has suffered in this economic downturn however we’re pleased to report that we achieved over 90% of our anticipated revenues.
The economic impact of tourism to Tuolumne County continues to be substantial. According to the latest independent study by Dean Runyan Associates (a research firm retained by the California Travel & Tourism Commision), total visitor spending in the latest recorded year is $172.9 million, up from the $163.6 million the prior year. This spending generated $9 million in state and local taxes, up from $8.5 the prior year.
Tourism in Tuolumne County employs 2,350 residents and as such is our largest private-sector employer.
These numbers do NOT include employee counts or revenue from Black Oak Casino. As a tribal entity, it is considered “government” and therefore its sales and employee data are not included in any TCVB data reported.
Some of the activities on tap for the current fiscal year (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011) include:
- Upgrading our website with new features. If you’ve not looked at it recently, you’ll now find the Visitors Guide and some other documents now available online as well as in print.
- A greater print run of the printed version of the Visitors Guide in 2011 to accommodate a growing demand due to greater distribution. We’ve developed new circulation routes in the Bay Area and Valley as well as increased participation at large-scale regional events such as the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, the Mountain View Arts and Wine Festival and the Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay.
- Expansion of our radio advertising via some terrific ad buys we were able to achieve on Bay Area radio and via an Internet Radio Program that features frequently throughout the year called “The Blend.”
- Continued show participation in the L.A. Times Travel Show (Orange County), Sunset Celebrations Weekend (Travel & Lifestyles) in Menlo Park, Monterey Travel Show,a special San Francisco Travel Media Event, the Go West Travel Expo (Sacramento) which is for tour operators from all over the world specializing in selling the western US, the Outdoor Writers Association of California, Group Leaders of America (San Francisco), Meeting Professionals International (San Francisco & Sacramento chapters) and the World Travel Mart in London as part of a regional group of visitor bureaus.
- A very active role as a Silver Sponsor in the 2011 Pow Wow in San Francisco. This is the largest trade show in the US for tour operators, put on by the US Travel Association. Most years this event takes place on the east coast and this will be there first west-coast show in some years. It attracts more tour operators and travel industry professionals from around the world than any other event in the US.
The Visitors Bureau is taking an active sponsorship role that will allow Tuolumne County to be introduced to hundreds of potential new customers capable of directing business to our area. Much of our resources will be committed to this event because of its enormous potential for us. It may be many years again before this group gathers on the west coast of the US and within driving range of our area.
That’s just a sampling of what’s going on. In my next blog, I’ll share more of what’s happening with some of our special local promotions and other activities planned for the coming year.
We’re proud of tourism’s contribution to employment and tax revenue to help create and retain jobs for Tuolumne County and contribute to the county coffers in these difficult times. Tourism indirectly impacts virtually every business in Tuolumne County and as such is really everyone’s business.