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O.C.'s tourism industry to rebound in 2010

New report projects uptick in visitors, spending in the region this year.

By Kristen SchottPublished: February 24, 2010 10:02 AM

Courtesy of Disney
Orange County's tourism industry is expected to show signs of recovery this year, according to new statistics from the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau. Some 43 million visitors are expected to flock to the region, spending $7.3 billion.

It's welcome news for O.C., which saw a slight decline in travelers to the region in 2009. And those who came spent less at local restaurants, businesses and events. The number dropped to $7.1 billion last year, down from $7.9 billion in 2008, according to the organization, which compiles its numbers through CIC Research.

About 25 percent of visitor dollars were spent on lodging, followed by food, which took up 24 percent of the total, shopping and attractions, among other categories.

But local officials believe such popular events as the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which is set for July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, will draw in mass amounts of visitors and boost spending.

"While the visitor numbers in 2009 may have been slightly off," says Anaheim/O.C. Visitor & Convention Bureau President Charles Ahlers, "we are optimistic that 2010 will be the year to move us forward once again."

The local decline in the tourism industry is reflected nationwide, mainly due to the economic downturn, according to CIC Research Vice President Skip Hull, who also expects stronger numbers in O.C. and the U.S. in the near future.

"Stronger growth in tourism industry sales will occur of the next few years with expected improvement in U.S. employment and wages and income generating increased travel to O.C. and greater visitor spending."

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