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Santa Monica Bed Taxes Pumped Nearly $51 Million into City Coffers Last Year, Report Says  

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Santa Monica Travel and Tourism

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By Lookout Staff

May 12, 2017 -- Santa Monica's tourism industry pumped $1.87 billion into the city's economy last year, with nearly $51 million in bed taxes going directly into the City’s general fund, according to figures released by Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) officials Thursday.

Some 8.4 million visitors came to the bayside city last year and spent an average of $163 each, up from $157 in 2015, according to a report released at the agency's 8th annual Travel & Tourism Summit at the Lowes Hotel.

Of those, 744,384 stayed at local hotels and motels -- which charge a 14 percent City bed tax -- and which saw occupancy levels and average daily rates remain among the strongest in the region, according to the report.

Funds generated by the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) "amounted to an estimated savings of $1,311 in taxes per Santa Monica household that would be required to maintain city services at their current level," officials said.

In addition, local tourism supported 13,000 jobs.

“The figures from 2016 clearly indicate that the state of Santa Monica’s tourism industry is strong, and that it remains a pillar of Santa Monica’s local economy," said Misti Kerns, SMTT's president and CEO.

"Ensuring that it continues to do so will be of utmost importance in the wake of a tumultuous year of unprecedented political situations and economic uncertainty,” Kerns said.

“As the global community prepares to assess how the travel industry will be affected during this pivotal time, SMTT is determined to ensure that our local community is ready and able to continue to thrive.”

Santa Monica's tourism industry continues to rely heavily on international visitors, according to SMTT’s 2016 Tourism Economic and Fiscal Impact report.

Of the total visitors last year, nearly 4 million came from abroad and nearly 4.5 million were from the U.S., according to the report. International visitors spent nearly $946 million, while domestic visitors spent nearly $922 million.

Santa Monica's robust tourism industry reflects the health of the statewide travel industry, which has grown for the past seven years, said keynote speaker Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California.

Visitors to California last year spent $126.3 billion and helped support nearly 1.1 million travel-generated jobs, Beteta said.

Thursday's Summit, which was attended by more than 300 community members, featured panel discussions that provided a glimpse into the future of tourism for Santa Monica, the region and the state.

SMTT officials also announced the launch of Santa Monica Cares, a philanthropic program that will provide support to local nonprofit agencies.

The program, composed of a coalition of representatives from the Santa Monica hospitality industry and the city at large, will "harness and centralize the extensive service efforts Santa Monica’s tourism community," officials said.

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