Monday, September 25 , 2017, 10:44 am | Fair 74º

 
 
 
 

Business

Travel Outlook Shows Potential for Growth in Santa Barbara

Event hosted by Visit Santa Barbara reveals details of the overall visitor profile and looks ahead to 2014

Most visitors to Santa Barbara are married, traveling by car, participating in the arts and taking in the local sights, shops and restaurants during a weekend getaway or extended vacation.

They also love the enviable weather and beaches, and clock a mean age of 48.

That visitor profile was shared Wednesday morning during Visit Santa Barbara’s 2014 Travel Outlook, which commanded the attention of more than 100 attendees who hoped to learn more about the travelers they want to better serve in the future.

Hospitality industry professionals, community leaders and others were told there’s room for economic growth in the Santa Barbara County tourism industry, since more visitors equal more tax revenue, business and — indirectly — more jobs.

About 6.1 million people visited the South Coast in the past year, with an average of 25,500 visitors per day, according to David Bratton, founder of Destination Analysts who presented results of a South Coast Visitor Profile & Tourism Economic Impact Study.

Nearly 70 percent of those visitors came for the day, and 24.2 percent stayed one or more nights in a hotel, motel or inn.

“Hotel guests may not be the most numerous, but they’re definitely spending the most money,” Bratton said, adding that 58 percent of last year’s total spending — $850 million — was from overnight guests. “Clearly, the South Coast is a leisure paradise.”

travel outlook
The 2014 Travel Outlook featured a panel of the area's business leaders, including Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce President Lynda Lang, left, and Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce President Ken Oplinger. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Bratton said the South Coast was a “very walkable destination” that draws visitors with an annual household income of more than $100,000, and 32 percent of them are bringing their kids.

The travel presentation for the first time included a panel discussion that featured the presidents of all three South Coast chamber of commerce organizations, including Lynda Lang (Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce), Kristen Miller (Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce) and Ken Oplinger (Santa Barbara Regional Chamber of Commerce).

Bruce Baltin, vice president of PKF Consulting, focused much of the 2014 Lodging Forecast on the high occupancy rates seen this year and the potential to grow those numbers in the next.

Baltin said the hotel occupancy rate on the South Coast was 73 percent in 2013, an increase of 8.5 percent over 2012 and the highest hotel occupancy rate in all of Southern California. North County rates also fared well, he added.

Although the 2014 rate was expected to remain relatively flat at 74 percent, Baltin said industry leaders could affect those projections by seizing opportunities, especially in the wine-tasting travel market.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >