GILROY CONTINUES to be a very popular destination for domestic and international visitors as evidenced by the thousands of guests welcomed at the Gilroy Welcome Center ( GWC ) this past year . Travelers from as far as Australia , New Zealand and China are a representation of the international appeal of Gilroy .
When a market-focused and marketdriven strategy for tourism is adopted with consistent necessary funding and is paired with cooperation and vision the community benefits . Some of those benefits are identified below :
Enhanced quality of life Recognition of the importance of protecting natural resources adds to visitor satisfaction as well as the local quality of life .
Improved infrastructure and local services Tourism generated tax dollars can play an important role in the city for local services .
Jobs and business improvement Tourism often adds to the revenues that , in turn , increases employment and strengthens local businesses . Enhanced image and economic development value will help to attract and retain business entities .
Positive Return on Investment ( ROI ) The combined benefits derived from a citywide tourism promotion effort can provide a positive ROI over the long-term for the entire community .
Community Pride Community pride leads to reinvestment and further buy-in from the community .
Destination Gilroy – contributing to a more vibrant local economy !
In 2012 , GWC staff and volunteers served over 35,000 visitors providing them with brochures , information and assistance with purchases of Gilroy souvenirs at the Welcome Center . Located near the tour bus parking area in the Gilroy Premium Outlets , the location for the Welcome Center has worked out well for our guests visiting our community .
Reading the above paragraph one might ask - why is this important to know and how do visitors to a destination impact the local economy ? To give you some perspective on this question , following are “ Key Facts ” from Visit California – our state ’ s nonprofit travel and tourism organization - detailing the impact of tourism in the state of California in 2011 :
• $ 102.3 billion – direct travel-related consumer spending
• $ 30.4 billion in travel-related earnings
• $ 19.1 billion – spent by 14.5 million international visitors
• $ 6.3 billion – state and local tax receipts
• 893,000 tourism related jobs
The tourism industry in California is one of the state ’ s economic success stories . Between June of 2011 and 2012 , the leisure and hospitality sector added 48,600 jobs , a 3.2 percent increase – compared to the only 2 percent increase in non-farm employment as a whole . The $ 19.1 billion spent in California by international visitors alone was equal to the combined value of the state ’ s top four product exports ( civilian aircraft , computer parts , non-industrial diamonds , and voice / image / data equipment .) These facts and others demonstrate the incredible importance of tourism to the state and obviously the impact on our local economy with Gilroy a destination for travelers . “ Key Facts ” relating to the impact of tourism on the Gilroy economy in fiscal year 11 / 12 include :
• Over $ 10 million in lodging revenue collected
• Approximately $ 1 million in Transit Occupancy Tax generated
• Over 35,000 visitors to the Gilroy Welcome Center
• 380,000 + attendance - Gilroy Gardens
• 100,000 + attendance – Gilroy Garlic Festival
• 2,000 + Passport Weekend attendance – Wineries of Santa Clara Valley
Gilroy has a number of major attractions and special events and is home to Gilroy Premium Outlets with 145 stores . Couple these offerings with our parks , outdoor recreation , historic downtown and numerous locally owned restaurants and you can understand Gilroy ’ s appeal to visitors throughout the world . The next step for the Gilroy Welcome Center is to expand the marketing efforts of the organization to increase visitation and overnight stays thereby generating additional revenues , tax receipts and employment . To address this next step the Gilroy Welcome Center board of directors is adopting the 2013 / 14 Marketing Plan . This plan will determine goals , objectives , strategies , action steps and measurements for the dollars spent to market Gilroy as a destination . Watch for the details of the approved plan in the next edition of Gilroy Today .