May 5, 2024

At the Top of the Golden Gate Bridge, Governor Newsom Announces Tourism Spending Hit an All-Time High in California

California remains the #1 state for tourism

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: New data released today shows that California continues to have the largest market share of tourism in the nation, with travel spending in the state reaching an all-time record high of $150.4 billion last year.

SAN FRANCISCO – Governor Gavin Newsom and Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta today announced that travel spending in the state reached an all-time high of $150.4 billion last year, surpassing the record $144.9 billion spent in 2019. This comes after the state retained its title as the world’s 5th largest economy and had a population increase, both of which are directly tied to California’s nation-leading tourism and entertainment industries.

From our world-renowned coastline, to the world’s tallest trees, to our iconic cities and theme parks, California is the nation’s coming attraction. Visitors from all over the world are coming here to experience the wonder of the Golden State, boosting our economy and creating good-paying jobs for years to come.

Governor Gavin Newsom

BY THE NUMBERS: The Economic Impact of Travel in California, prepared by Dean Runyan Associates and released by Visit California, detailed spending that is 3.8% higher than 2019 and 5.6% higher than 2022. Spending exceeded 2019 levels in a majority of counties.

WHAT VISIT CALIFORNIA CEO BETETA SAID: “California tourism is back where it belongs – setting records and providing for the workers, business owners and all Californians who depend on the travel industry as a cornerstone of our state’s economy. The industry has once again proved its ability to recover from any challenge, whether it be economic or environmental. California continues to be the largest, most diverse and most resilient tourism economy in the United States.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: California has the largest market share of tourism in the nation. The new travel-spending record generated $12.7 billion in state and local tax revenue by visitors in 2023, marking a 3% increase over 2019. Tourism created 64,900 new jobs in 2023, bringing total industry employment to 1,155,000.

California remains the 5th largest economy in the world for the seventh consecutive year, with a nominal GDP of nearly $3.9 trillion in 2023 and a growth rate of 6.1% since the year prior, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. California’s per capita GDP is the second largest among large economies.

In addition to visiting the state, more people are moving to California. Earlier this week, Governor Newsom announced the state’s population is increasing for the first time since the pandemic.

The Golden State, which has the most equitable tax system in the entire country, is #1 in the nation for new business starts, #1 for access to venture capital funding, and the #1 state for tourism spending, manufacturing, high-tech, and agriculture.