Tourism Matters to Monterey County

A shining star of the local economy, tourism is a leading, thriving industry in Monterey County. Taxes and revenue generated from local attractions, hotels and restaurants are vital to the well being of Monterey County's schools, roadways, police force and other infrastructure improvements that benefit the community.


Voices of Monterey County

Tourism is both lucrative and critical to Monterey County's economy. It creates jobs and paychecks, fills restaurants and shops, sells attraction tickets, fuels critically important tax revenues and improves the quality of life for residents. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, 4.6 million visitors to Monterey County generated $2.98 billion in visitor spending and kept over 25,000 people employed. Hear from some of those directly impacted by Monterey County tourism has on their lives. 

Key Statistics

  • Visitor spending in Monterey County increased for the eighth consecutive year with $2.98 billion being injected into the local economy – an increase of 5.8% over 2017.
  • Tourism tax dollars help to pay/subsidize high service levels throughout the city including library services, staffing levels, park improvements and recreation programs. 62% of Monterey sales tax revenues are being paid by non-residents – $5.58 million of the $9 million comes from non-resident
  • Measure S, the 1% sales tax increase, is 62% paid by non-residents and provides another $6 million for road improvements. There are 5,400 hospitality-based jobs in Monterey, 21% of all jobs. The Monterey charter dictates that 16% of the city’s transient occupancy tax go to the neighborhood improvement program providing $3.9 million for neighborhood projects.
  • According to a Tourism Economics report, for every $1 of MCCVB’s spending, competitive destinations are collectively spending $36.
  • The county receives the lion’s share of travel impacts in the region with 33%, followed closely by Monterey with 30%, Salinas with 14%, Carmel with 8%, Seaside (including Sand City and Del Rey Oaks) with 7%, Pacific Grove with 5%, and Marina with 4%.
  • California’s visitor spending grew 5.4% in 2018 – the ninth consecutive year of growth – contributing $140.6 billion to support the fifth-largest economy in the world.
  • Tourism is the California’s No. 1 export—even before agriculture. To ensure that the state keeps attracting visitors, Visit California has established offices in 14 countries. These offices account for approximately 87% of all inbound state travel. The state’s key markets are: China, Mexico, Canada, and United Arab Emirates.

Responsible Tourism

MCCVB’s responsible tourism initiative, Sustainable Moments, is aimed at travelers with messaging encouraging responsible tourism. The MCCVB targets travelers pre-trip as well as when they are in-market and have also created training programs with international tour operators and travel agents so they can educate their clients on being respectful to our destination. Marketing efforts advertising and an array of branded collateral used by local hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions – that remind people to Visit Responsibly while they are here.

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