Conventions and Tourism a Bright Spot In Region’s Economy
Even during times of economic uncertainty, meetings and conventions continue to positively impact the San Gabriel Valley’s economy. In 2011, the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) booked 33, 605 hotel room nights, which will generate an estimated $22.3 million for the region between now and 2014.
One of these conventions, known as The Gathering, was held in Pasadena. Sponsored by the Salvation Army’s U.S.A. Western Territory, it was the largest convention ever booked by the Pasadena CVB, bringing in $1.4 million in revenue.
“Every full-service hotel in Pasadena was sold out during that period,” said Michael Ross, CEO of the Pasadena Operating Company, which manages the Pasadena CVB and Pasadena Convention Center.
These included the Hilton Pasadena, Old Pasadena Courtyard by Marriott, The Langham Huntington, Sheraton Pasadena, and The Westin Pasadena. Because of the demand, overflow from the convention also filled hotels in nearby Monrovia and Glendale.
As with any convention, The Gathering’s delegates generated revenue by spending money in hotels, restaurants, shops and museums, just to name a few. Those staying in Glendale and Monrovia positively impacted those communities’ economies as well.
“With attendance of 5,400, this was also the largest convention ever held at the expanded Pasadena Convention Center,” Ross said. “The city, surrounding businesses and Pasadena Operating Company are now starting to reap the rewards of the Center’s 2009 expansion.”
“We also succeeded in luring The Gathering away from Long Beach and National Contract Management Association away from Phoenix for their 2013 World Congress,” Ross said. “We are definitely proving that Pasadena is a world-class city for meetings and conventions.”
While the Pasadena CVB’s primary focus continues to be meetings and conventions, the CVB is also pursuing domestic leisure travelers from the local region and surrounding states. International efforts are concentrated on visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and China.
Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries. Domestic and international travelers, including convention delegates, spent $813 billion in the United States in 2011. These expenditures resulted in $124 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. Without this much-needed tax revenue, the U.S. Travel Association estimates that each U.S. household would pay $1,000 more in taxes.
California continues to have the largest market share of domestic travel among all 50 states with 11.45 percent in 2011. Approximately 5.7 million overseas travelers visited California in 2011, representing 21 percent of all international travel to the United States. California’s large market share is attributed to its proximity to and growing popularity among the Asian market.
“Destinations are aggressively competing for overseas markets outside of North America,” said Ross. “These visitors tend to stay longer and spend the most.”
Pasadena’s close proximity to Los Angeles is a major benefit. In 2011, Los Angeles welcomed more than 43.7 million visitors.
“Creating awareness of Pasadena with visitors to Los Angles is an important part of the Pasadena CVB’s marketing strategy,” Ross added. “Our goal is to entice these travelers to Pasadena.”
The top expenditure-based activities among California travelers include dining, shopping and entertainment. Pasadena is home to 500 restaurants, 120 name brand and one-of-a-kind shops in Old Pasadena, 14 museums, and 11 performing arts organizations.
“This makes Pasadena an ideal destination for travelers seeking these activities,” Ross continued. “All of our marketing pieces highlight our shopping, dining and cultural pursuits.”
The travel forecast continues to reflect the nation’s economic recovery. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the percentage of Americans planning to take a leisure trip between now and October is up 61 percent from 2011. Business travel is also expected to improve slightly in the next six months.
This is great news for Pasadena and the surrounding communities. “The more consumers become confident with their financial situation, the more the travel industry will benefit,” Ross added.
For more information, contact the Pasadena CVB at (626) 795-9311 or log onto VisitPasadena.com.