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Tourism in Santa Monica Posts Big Gains in 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

May 26, 2015 -- Tourism in Santa Monica posted big gains in 2014, jumping 8.4 percent to 7.9 million visitors, the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) reported last week.

The hike in tourists – most of them international—spurred more spending, led to an increase in tourism-related jobs and pumped more than $40 million into the City coffers.

Santa Monica’s “vital travel industry was strong and continued record growth,” said Bureau officials, who have tracked the impact of tourism on Santa Monica since 1983.

The story for 2014 is again a healthy tourism industry producing higher and record volume, spending taxes and tourism supported jobs.”

There were increases across the board, CVB officials reported. Total spending rose almost six percent, to $1.72 billion last year. Visitors spent about $351 a day on hotels and motels alone, the report found – up by 13.2 percent over the previous year.

Meanwhile, retail sales tax revenue jumped almost 10 percent, to $10.6 million and the amount generated by the hotel tax rose almost 7 percent, to $45.5 million.

Jobs supported by tourism increased 6 percent, to 13,700, according to the findings.

“The figures revealed here today clearly indicate that, two years into our five-year strategic plan, we are harnessing our destination’s ability to generate the critical tourism jobs and dollars required to be a true economic engine for the city.”

The report found that overall, per capita spending was $151.13 a day, a 5.5 percent increase over 2013.

Among visitors, shopping and gifts accounted for the biggest segment of spending, or $625 million, a 9 percent hike.

International tourists accounted for 55 percent of the visitors. Of those visitors, the most – or 17 percent – were from Australia/New Zealand.

U.S. visitors  from outside California accounted for 30  percent of tourists; and California residents accounted for about 15 percent.

U.S. visitors in general spent $743 million, a 12 percent jump, the report said.

There also was a surge in the number of people who paid admissions to various attractions and clubs, the report found. Spending in that category climbed by 54 percent, from $37.1 million to $57.1 million.

The money spent on transportation also jumped, the figures showed. It was up almost 11 percent to $69 million.

Industry officials met in Santa Monica last week for a summit on tourism. The numbers were released as part of the event.

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