Travel and Tourism, a Vital Economic Driver to the Irvine Economy

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Main News Photo

In 2019, traveler expenditures for Irvine came to an estimated $781 million, an increase of 3.9% over 2018, according to the 2019 Visitor Impact report conducted specifically for Irvine by Dean Runyan Associates, on behalf of Destination Irvine

The Irvine travel industry contributed $49.6 million in local and state taxes.

Without visitor spending, it is estimated, that resident households in Irvine would each pay $560 more a year in state and local taxes.

Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT) pay for local services, said President and CEO of Greater Irvine Chamber Bryan Starr. “In Irvine, the 8% TOT, which is paid by hotel guests, accounts for a large percentage of the local government and public safety spending, without it, Irvine would not have the accredited educational system and amenities the citizens value and enjoy.”

Irvine’s travel industry supported 5,860 Irvine jobs and was responsible for adding $267 million in wages to the local economy.

“These numbers illustrate the economic power of tourism to the Irvine economy,” Starr said. “Funded by the self-assessed Hotel Improvement District, Destination Irvine’s marketing and sales initiatives play a strategic role in generating travel expenditures by bringing millions of visitors, whether conference attendees, leisure travelers, or those attending a sporting event, to Irvine.”

Irvine Travel and Tourism 2019 infographic

Irvine’s major visitor spending categories:

 Spending Categories Percent of Total Spending Spending in Irvine ($ Millions)
 Accommodations  29%$288
 Food & Beverage Services 24%$185
 Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 22%$175
 Retail 11%$88 
 Transportation & Gasoline 14%$107
 Total Spending in 2019 100%$781

Ten Years of Growth had Become the California Norm

Overall, Orange County visitors spent $14.5 billion in 2019, a 4% increase over 2018. Statewide, travelers spent a record $144.9 billion in 2019, a 3% increase over the year prior.

“Ten years of growth had become the California norm. Visitor spending, employment, and tax revenue were all up in 2019. Tourism-related tax revenue from visitors amounted to $920 in savings for each California household.” said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. “The coronavirus pandemic devastating economies around the globe must not blunt the spirit of California tourism. This industry still has great stories to tell, not only about fulfilling travel dreams, but about employing Californians, growing businesses, and helping state and local governments provide vital services. Travel and tourism will help lead the economic recovery once businesses start re-opening.”

To learn more about Irvine as a Destination and things to do in Irvine, visit



Category: Destination Irvine, Travel and Tourism