Whether travel is for business, leisure, sports, events, or just connecting with family and friends, every person who comes to Concord contributes to the city’s economic vitality through dollars spent on dining, lodging, transportation, shopping, and entertainment. Visitors come to our city for any number of reasons including location, weather, shopping, dining, historic downtown, live music, outdoor recreation and variety of hotels.
Like every place else, the coronavirus pandemic greatly impacted Concord tourism this past year and, not surprisingly, our new data reflects the losses. The good news is that as the number of cases continue to go down and restrictions continue to lift, travel is starting to make a comeback. If all remains on track, California will fully reopen as of June 15. And while it may take a while to get back to pre-Covid numbers, there are signs of hope for partial recovery in 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, the city’s tourism revenue and travel related jobs market had steadily increased each year. In 2020, Concord tourism numbers declined significantly:
Travel spending was down 55.8% from $184 million in 2019 to $81.3 million in 2020.
Direct travel-generated employment lost approximately 770 jobs, down 37.6%.
Direct travel-generated earning experienced a loss of $29,7 million, down 33.8%.
Tax receipts generated by travel spending were down 54.6%
Concord’s 56% drop closely aligns with California’s 55% overall travel spending decline.
Hotel revenue in Concord totaled $45 million in 2019 and $23 million in 2020, down 48.8%.
As we do begin to welcome visitors back to Concord, tourism dollars will once again work to create jobs and improved quality of life in our community. Over the past several years, millions in state and local tax revenue from tourism dollars have gone to help fund things like regional parks, economic development, arts and culture, education, roads, public safety, education, affordable housing, workforce development and other community programs. Without these travel-generated tax revenues, each Concord residence would have to pay an average of $370 more in taxes each year to maintain the same level of public services*.
Concord’s new Visitor Center, now open, also promises to have a positive economic impact for the city through an enhanced downtown presence and collaboration with our many partners. In time, the Visitor Center will also offer tourism ambassador classes, pop-up events, artisan goods, exclusive Concord merchandise, business development opportunities and meeting space rentals. It is important to note that Visit Concord and the Visitor Center are self-funded through the 3% TID assessment tax, paid entirely by hotel guests (not the hotels themselves.)
Destination marketing will continue to play a significant role in the months and years ahead and Visit Concord remains proactively engaged in getting our vital visitor economy back on the road to recovery.
*Tourism data provided by Dean Runyan and Associates, Concord, California Visitor Impacts study, 2020.