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Santa Monica's Tourism Industry Recognized with Economic Excellence Award

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Lookout Staff

February 15, 2019 -- Santa Monica's booming tourism industry -- which pumped $66 million in bed taxes alone into the City's coffers last year -- has been recognized with an Economic Excellence Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, the local tourism industry employs 13,345 workers "doing jobs that cannot be exported" and accounts for nearly $1.4 billion in spending at local restaurants and retailers, tourism officials said.

The award was presented to Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), the agency that runs the industry, at the State of the City event last week.

“Take a walk along the pier or on our beaches and you are bound to be greeted by a myriad of languages and just as many smiles," said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of SMTT.

"The tourism industry welcomes visitors from across the globe to soak up the essence of the California lifestyle."

Tourists, Kerns said, "not only make our city more diverse and interesting, but also contribute tenfold with the economic and employment impact they provide our community.”

Over the past decade, the City's hotel transient occupancy tax, or "bed tax," has pumped nearly $440 million into the City’s general fund.

Over the past three years, revenues from bed taxes have leaped from $51 million in 2016 to $54.3 million in 2017 to a record $66 million last year ("Santa Monica Bed Taxes Pumped Nearly $51 Million into City Coffers Last Year," Report Says," May 12, 2017).

Tourists also spent approximately $346 million at Santa Monica restaurants and $790 million shopping at stores last year, tourism officials said.

City officials estimate that visitors have generated nearly $90 million in sales tax revenues over the past ten years, City officials said.

"To receive the same level of city services Santa Monica residents currently experience, it is estimated that each Santa Monica household would have to pay an additional $1,379 in property taxes to maintain city services if tourism revenues and the TOT did not exist," City officials said.

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