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Growth in Irvine Tourism Spending is Four Times the State's Performance

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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By Bryan Starr, president and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber, as published in the May 27 issue of the Orange County Business Journal.

Irvine can no longer be considered a hidden gem of California. It has become a well-visited destination for travelers from across the country and the world. In fact, Irvine has outpaced the state’s growth in tourism spending four times over.

The Greater Irvine Chamber’s destination marketing division, Destination Irvine, released last month statistics from the 2018 Visitor Impact report conducted specifically for Irvine by Dean Runyan Associates. The report indicates Irvine visitor spending increased a record 21 percent from 2017, compared to a 5 percent increase in California for the same period, according to a new report from the marketing body Visit California.

In 2018, traveler expenditures for Irvine came to an estimated $750 million, an increase of 21 percent over 2017, far exceeding the rate of growth in preceding years due to increased visitation. The travel industry contributed $47.8 million in local and state taxes.

This is big news for Irvine residents, too. It is estimated that without visitor spending, resident households in Irvine would each pay $543 more a year in state and local taxes.

Furthermore, the travel industry supported 5,870 Irvine jobs and is responsible for adding $274 million in wages to the local economy.

Irvine Hotels

Destination Irvine’s marketing and sales initiatives play a strategic role in bringing more than one million visitors, whether conference attendees, leisure travelers, or those attending a sporting event, to Irvine. Through these efforts and the partnership with Irvine’s 21 hotels, tourism spending is further enhanced, resulting in an increase in economic impact to the community.

The city’s hotel inventory continues to grow in response to demand. Opening in November 2019 is a brand new five-story Staybridge Suites Irvine extended stay hotel, four miles north of the John Wayne Airport and a short drive from the Irvine Spectrum Center. Recently approved by the City of Irvine planning commission, the Banc Hotel/Office Mixed-use Project, to be located on a 6.25-acre site between Jamboree Road and Teller Ave., proposes 258 rooms, with 143,721 square feet for office use and 11,269 square feet for medical office use. Accessory uses proposed as part of the project include restaurant, market, ballroom, fitness center and spa, as well as a nine-level parking structure with rooftop deck.

Additional hotels planned for Irvine in the coming years are a 122-room Element Hotel on Armstrong Ave., and a 165-room TownePlace  Suites on White Road.

California Tourism Spending

Travelers and residents spent more than $140 billion across the state at restaurants, stores, and other businesses in 2018. The California travel industry accounted for more than one million jobs statewide – a nearly 2 percent increase over 2017.

Visitors on domestic flights increased by 7 percent and accounted for $42 million in revenue. According to an economic impact report by Dean Runyon for Visit California, residents of other states and countries spent six out of every ten dollars at visitor destinations in California.

With leisure travelers enjoying Irvine’s 16,000 acres of preserved natural habitats and wildlands, miles of hiking and biking trails, international dining and shopping experiences, and sports enthusiasts competing in or attending a tournament at the Orange County Great Park Sports Complex – all accessible by one of the country’s most passenger-friendly airports and the region’s connecting highways – Irvine continues to play a key role in the state’s travel and economic success.


Category: Economic Development, Destination Irvine, Economic News, Chamber News

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