Written by Therese Williams —
MADERA COUNTY — Visitors to Madera County have injected $273.8 million into the local economy and continue to support the region, according to a statewide report released today by Visit California.
The report, an update from preliminary findings released in February at Visit California’s 2016 Outlook Forum, finds that travel spending was a leading source of employment opportunities for local residents and tax revenue for local governments. Produced in partnership with Dean Runyan Associates, the report found that last year direct travel spending reached $273.8 million in Madera County. Statewide, travelers spent a record $122.5 billion.
Visit California’s report includes the economic benefits of leading tourism sectors such as hotels, rental cars and retail as well as the statewide and county-by-county benefits.
‘‘2015 was the sixth consecutive year of growth for the tourism industry,’’ said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta. ‘‘Tourism has the ability to drive economic development and revitalization that empowers local communities and makes California a better place to both live and work.’’
Visitor spending supported 3200 jobs and generated $22.8 million in local tax revenue for Madera County, proving that the travel and tourism industry is a strong economic driver for the region. These figures, while impressive alone, only scratch the surface of how tourism is transforming our communities for the better.
“Tourism is a very important economic driver in Madera County, especially in the eastern part of the county,” says Rhonda Salisbury, CEO of Visit Yosemite Madera County. “Virtually every local business in the small towns of Oakhurst, Bass Lake, Fish Camp, and Coarsegold rely on tourism for their business success. I was a tourist at Bass Lake when I fell in love with the area and decided to move here, as were many of the homeowners in the region. Now we support the local economy by shopping, dining, using auto repair services, insurance agencies, and more that helps the local economy, because we were once tourists.”
Travel also greatly benefits our relationships, families and children. Research shows that kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college, and earn more as adults. It’s good for our well-being, too, as numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off. From reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression, that’s a platform anyone can support!
Visit California is a statewide organization that works with local partners across the state to develop and implement innovative global marketing programs that instill a desire for the California Dream and attract visitors to our state. This work plays an important role in growing Madera County’s tourism economy, as sustained messaging to potential visitors is essential to attracting travelers and enticing them to return to create new experiences.
Therese Williams is Director of Public Relations for Visit Yosemite Madera County