Oxnard’s Tourism Economy Grew in 2021, Outpacing State Projections For Economic Recovery of 2019 Levels

Oxnard’s tourism economy made great strides toward recovery in 2021, yet more work remains to fully restore the tourism economy in Oxnard and across the state.

Oxnard’s tourism economy made great strides toward recovery in 2021, yet more work remains to fully restore the tourism economy in Oxnard and across the state.

According to Visit California’s newly released report prepared by Dean Runyan Associates, detailing the economic impact of tourism across the state in 2021:

  • Visitor spending in 2021 increased by 56.3% over 2020 to $1.558 billion in Ventura County.
  • Visitor-generated tax revenue in Ventura County increased to $59 million in 2021.
  • Tourism jobs in Ventura County rose 5% to 14,190 in 2021.
  • Ventura County’s visitor spending number recovered to 85.3% of the levels recorded in 2019, before the pandemic lockdown and subsequent waves of government restrictions, outpacing the state projection of 76%.

“We’re feeling very optimistic as our visitation numbers and visitor spending continue to rise, and tourism gradually bounces back statewide,” said Julie Mino, CEO of Visit Oxnard. “Tourism is an integral part of Oxnard’s economic success, and as we work toward reviving 2019 visitor spending levels, we look forward to further supporting the infrastructure, public spaces and other initiatives that will improve the city for our community. We are fortunate that Oxnard is such a beautiful beachside destination that remains a desirable place for travelers to visit, and we expect to see continued growth throughout 2022.”

In celebration and support of tourism recovery, Visit Oxnard has unveiled a brand new visitor’s guide and omni-channel advertising campaign in partnership with The Journal of Lost Time, shining a spotlight on everything that Oxnard has to offer. The campaign follows seven friends as they gather for a perfect getaway in Oxnard filled with outdoor adventure, food and fun. By supplementing this with continued media outreach and hosted media visits, Visit Oxnard aims to drive awareness and inspire wanderlust for the destination.

Statewide, visitor spending reached $100.2 billion in 2021, up 46% from 2020. Visitor-generated tax revenue for state and local governments also increased by a third to $9.8 billion in 2021. Tourism jobs, which were halved at the dawn of the pandemic in 2020, recovered slowly in 2021, increasing to 928,000.

California’s visitor spending levels in 2021 amounted to just 69% of the record $144.9 billion reported in 2019. Employment levels in California’s tourism industry remained at only about three-quarters of the 1.2 million workers recorded in 2019.

“The increases in 2021 overall show Visit California’s marketing programs are working,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing organization. “After a devastating 2020, visitor spending is on the stairway to recovery, but we still have a long way to go,” Beteta said. “Cities continue to suffer without the critical international and group business segments.”

California’s meeting market was unable to operate for most of 2020 and into 2021 and has been slow to return. Spending by international visitors, which stood at nearly $28 billion in 2019 and was California’s largest export, plummeted with travel restrictions and amounted to just $5.4 billion in 2021.

Aided by marketing stimulus funds approved by the Legislature in mid-2021, Visit California has launched initiatives to promote leisure and business travel across the state, including a new domestic brand campaign with “Am I Dreaming?” that premiered during the Super Bowl pregame show. The organization has also reestablished marketing programs in priority international markets to tap into pent-up demand and inspire travelers to choose California for their first long-haul vacations.

Economic projections, prepared by Tourism Economics and released by Visit California earlier this year, showed travel-related spending will reach $144.6 billion in 2023, nearly the same as 2019. If achieved, the tourism economy will have returned to 2019 levels a year sooner than projected a year ago. Spending now is projected to reach $155.9 billion in 2024.

The release of the economic impact report annually coincides with the beginning of California Tourism Month in May, which the Legislature designated in 2016.