2023 TOURISM SUMMIT

Oceanside Tourism Went All-Out In 2022 With Record Setting Growth as Focus Turns to a Sustainable Future

June 9, 2023— Visit Oceanside, celebrated a second consecutive year of remarkable growth in visitor spending and tourism tax revenues.

With an average year-over-year growth of nine percent over the past decade, visitor spending was $568 million in 2022, an increase of 26 percent compared to the previous year according to a recent report by Dean Runyan Associates. The surge in spending generated $24 million in local tax revenues, marking a substantial 33 percent increase over 2021 and an incredible 88 percent increase over 2019. The tourism tax revenues significantly contribute to the City of Oceanside’s general fund, supporting crucial services such as public safety, parks, street improvements and homeless outreach.

Leslee Gaul, CEO of Visit Oceanside, expressed optimism about Oceanside’s continued rise as a sought-after Southern California beach getaway, attributing it to the city’s exceptional and distinctive experiences. Gaul stated, “Visitors are drawn to the richness and depth of our offerings, and as a result, they choose to spend their time and money here, which in turn benefits our local businesses and community.”

While increased visitation played a role in the economic growth, the report also recognized that price inflation of goods and services contributed to the positive trend.

According to the Dean Runyan report, nearly 70 percent of visitor spending was in sectors beyond lodging, such as dining, retail and attractions. Oceanside is home to many small, family-owned businesses operating in these sectors. Moreover, visitor spending directly supported 3,500 jobs within the travel industry in the city, with job-related earnings increasing by 18 percent compared to 2021.

Gaul presented the latest tourism economic impact data at Visit Oceanside’s Annual Tourism Summit on Friday, June 9 at Seabird Resort. During the summit, Visit Oceanside emphasized its commitment as a destination steward, aiming to ensure a balanced approach to Oceanside tourism that meets the needs of both the industry and the local community.

“Our objective has always been to attract high-quality visitors and distribute visitation throughout the year to support the well-being of our businesses, economy, environment and community,” said Gaul. “To reinforce this commitment, we have embarked on the first ever Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, or STMP, for Oceanside. This 10-year road map will focus on growing tourism in a way that harmoniously benefits the environment, the community, the economy and the visitor.”

Visit Oceanside is one of the first destinations in California to embark on a sustainable tourism master plan that aligns with the criteria and best practices set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). By adhering to GSTC standards, Visit Oceanside aims to unlock the potential of tourism as a force for positive social, cultural, and economic impact while minimizing any adverse effects on the environment and society.

Gaul stressed the importance of purposeful efforts to influence future investment in the community, including infrastructure improvements, product development and beautification. She stated, “We are committed to ensuring that these endeavors are carried out thoughtfully, harnessing their full economic impact while honoring and preserving Oceanside’s cultural heritage, natural resources, unique character, and its people.”

Dancing cloud Performance

The Tourism Summit is Visit Oceanside’s annual celebration of the industry attended by nearly 200 business and community members. The event opened with a traditional Luiseño Indian drum circle and land acknowledgement.

Opening remarks by Congressman Mike Levin were followed by Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim who officially kicked off summer with the tradition of a beachball toss. Jim McGowan, CEO of Windfall, Inc., spoke about travel trends, click HERE for the full presentation. 

Visit Oceanside then presented the annual tourism awards, including:

“All Out Oceanside” Award:

– Davin and Jessica Waite, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub/The Plot/Shoots Fish & Beer

– Roger “Roddy” and Aaron Browning, The Flying Pig

– Lou Niles and Carly Starr Bruno Niles, Oceanside International Film Festival

California Welcome Center Volunteer of the Year:

– Laurie Meineke

Lodging Partner of the Year:

– Adriana Meza, Stay Coastal Vacations

Local Champion:

– Rushell Gordon, Bliss Tea and Treats

– Kevin Shin, The Switchboard/KNVS Gallery and Bar

Industry Partner of the Year:

– Michelle Geller and Howard LaGrange, City of Oceanside, for the gO’side Shuttle

Year in review video

Published: June 12, 2023
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