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Santa Barbara Celebrates A Banner Year In Tourism The 2013-14 Fiscal Years Is The Best Yet For Visitors To The Area

July 29, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Tourism continues to grow in Santa Barbara with the 2013-14 fiscal year bringing in more Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue than any previous year, 14.6% higher than last fiscal year. 

The Santa Barbara South Coast saw a 7.40% increase in the Average Daily Rate (ADR) and a 3.45% increase in occupancy over the last year (1).

“As a post-recession economic driver, tourism has returned with notable force,” said VSB President and CEO, Kathy Janega-Dykes. “Both qualitative and anecdotal evidence show that people are traveling again, and that they’re coming to the Santa Barbara South Coast, which is excellent news. However, it’s news that only substantiates the need to continue our market-leading promotional efforts. As a destination, we face staunch competition both state and countrywide. Savvier travelers, new hotel developments and attractions, and Santa Barbara County’s many unique aspects deserve our commitment. It’s why we work tirelessly at Visit Santa Barbara to ensure our destination remains top-of-mind throughout the travel planning lifecycle. Travel matters to us, to our economy, and to the millions of people who visit the Santa Barbara South Coast every year.”

Visit Santa Barbara programs have expanded over the past three years with the help of new funding from the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID).  TBID funds have allowed VSB to remain competitive in attracting visitors to the destination with new and innovative programs including: a new advertising campaign, refreshed brand identity, a music marketing initiative, pop-up media dinners, expanded efforts to recruit group meetings, increased international representation, television exposure and a film incentive program.

The organization has seen strong results from these efforts.  With the use of TBID funding, VSB-generated lodging revenue has increased from $28M in 2010/11 to a projected $59M in 2013/14 (2).  The 2013-14 fiscal year has brought a partnership with US Airways Magazine putting Santa Barbara in front of 6.5 million readers, surge in social media following including a 47% increase in Facebook fans, the largest number of room nights booked since the recession, more media placements than ever before (over 4,500), and high-profile television shows using Santa Barbara as the backdrop.

The Santa Barbara South Coast tourism industry generates a total of $1.5 billion in visitor-related spending annually and supports 12,000 jobs. If the tourism industry disappeared, every resident in the Santa Barbara South Coast would need to spend an additional $10,317 annually to maintain current economic standards (3).

The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) paid by overnight visitors goes to the City’s General Fund.  The General Fund pays for vital community services such as police and fire.  For the 2013-14 fiscal year (July 2013 – June 2014), the city has collected $16.82 million in TOT. Over the 12 month period, TOT revenue is up 14.6% over the previous year and become the highest grossing year.

Visit Santa Barbara’s 2014-15 Marketing Plan Launch will take place in the fall announcing fresh programs to keep tourists coming to Santa Barbara.

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