Santa Monica has always been a destination for tourists and residents can be thankful for it. Last year alone tourism spending injected $1.93 billion into the local economy and supported more than 12,600 jobs that cannot be outsourced.
That's according to the 2018 Tourism Economic and Fiscal Impact report released last month by Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, the organization charged with promoting our seaside city to the world with the goal of attracting visitors and maintaining Santa Monica's status as one of the premier places to visit.
The report also revealed that more than $58 million went directly into the City's coffers from the tax on hotel reservations, known as the Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT. The contribution of the TOT to the City's general fund, supported entirely by overnight hotel guests, play a vital role in funding essential city services such as the exceptional police and fire departments, school systems, homeless services as well as the maintenance of the parks and beaches that make the beachside city a world-class place to live, work and play, said Misti Kerns, president/CEO of SMTT.
"No matter what the Santa Monica experience means for you personally, whether you are a resident or a visitor we can all agree that this beachside city is a special and unique place to live, work and visit," Kerns told a crowd of more than 300 Santa Monicans during SMTT's 10th annual Travel & Tourism Summit, held May 8 at the Jonathan Beach Club. "Santa Monica is fortunate to boast a thriving and sustainable economy, and tourism continues to be one of the most significant local contributors to this fact."
The average annual hotel occupancy rate reached 85.8 percent and the average daily room rate hit $351, making the performance of Santa Monica hotels amongst the strongest in the region.
During the event, Visit California President/CEO Caroline Beteta reflected on the ways the tourism industry continues to propel both Santa Monica and the State of California forward. California's robust tourism economy expanded in 2018, fueling more than $140.6 billion in travel spending, $11.8 billion in tax revenue and 1.2 million jobs in communities across the Golden State.
"As the country's most culturally and geographically diverse state, California offers an unparalleled wealth of experiences to travelers from around the globe," Beteta said. "Year-round those travelers fuel billions in economic impact, millions of jobs and power an industry leading the way into a more sustainable future."
Barbara Moss, banquet manager with Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows was awarded the Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Award during the Summit for her exceptional service in the hospitality industry. Moss was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a Santa Monica staycation, provided by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and SMTT.
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The Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park received SMTT's Jeff King Santa Monica Tourism Champion of the Year award. As the most Instagrammed location in all of Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Pier is undoubtedly the city's biggest icon. Both organizations were recognized for their commitment to preserving the nearly 110-year legacy of this historical landmark while continuing to ensure the Pier's relevancy and popularity well into the future with bold and innovative programming.'
Richard Chacker, the outgoing chair of the SMTT Board of Directors and co-owner of the ever popular Perry's Beach Café & Rentals, was recognized for his eight years of service to the organization and involvement in key initiatives.
"For the past 40 years I've spent most of my days down at the beach running my small business," said Chacker. "I'm personally grateful for our tourism industry and I've witnessed firsthand the balance of both visitors and residents that is needed to keep independent businesses like mine alive and well."
SMTT works to drive balanced demand to the destination through strategic marketing and sales initiatives. SMTT is represented by offices overseas in the key feeder markets of Australia/New Zealand, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom/Ireland. A targeted digital approach continues in China.
This article was repurposed from a Santa Monica Travel & Tourism press release.