In a state defined by altitudes, the story of California’s travel and tourism industry bears many of the same qualities.
Watch highlights from the year and then keep scrolling.


  • $10.3 Billion State & Local
    Tax Revenue
  • 1.1 Million Jobs
  • $126.3 Billion Traveler Spending
  • 75% OCCUPIED Hotel Occupancy
    Record High

California tourism celebrated a seventh consecutive year of growth in 2016. Traveler spending equates to more than the state’s proposed General Fund appropriation for an entire year.

Traveler spending by industry segment

Travel and tourism is one of California’s most important engines for economic growth. Travelers spend hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across California every day, spending $126.3 billion in 2016. All of California’s tourism providers benefited from increased visitation in 2016 with direct traveler spending supporting all industry segments.

*In-state travel includes local transportation and gas, visitor air transportation and other travel. Source: Dean Runyan Associates

In-state Travel*
Food & Beverage
Attractions & Entertainment

Each California household would have to pay an additional $780 in taxes without the revenue generated by travel spending.


Visit California’s brand campaigns generated 5.6 million incremental trips and $12.9 billion in incremental spending — a 25 percent increase year-over-year.

Program Measurement: Return on Investment

Visit California uses SMARI research firm to evaluate the effectiveness of its paid advertising by measuring how many travelers visit the state after viewing an ad and the additional spending to the state from these trips, resulting in additional state and local tax revenue.

  • $12.9 Billion Incremental
    Visitor Spend
  • 5.6 Million Ad-influenced
  • $816 Million Incremental
    Tax Revenue

International Investments and Visitor Spending

International travelers continued to fuel California’s economy with visitors outspending and staying longer than their domestic counterparts. To continue to boost visitation, Visit California focused its global marketing programs in 13 international markets in addition to the United States.

$ $
market 2016
Australia $971M $4.1M
Brazil $392M $1.1M
Canada $2B $3.9M
China $3B $8.5M
France $867M $1.1M
Germany $779M $1.1M
India $672M $500K
Italy $326M $250K
Japan $1.2B $1.2M
Mexico $3.2B $3.2M
Scandinavia $565M $250K
South Korea $1B $950K
United Kingdom $1B $5.9M
Integrated campaign highlights
Living the Dream
Living the Dream
All Dreams Welcome
Golden State of Luxury

‘Living the Dream’

See the latest evolution of Visit California’s global brand spot highlighting 17 destinations and a little bit of Magic (Johnson), ‘Living the Dream.’ The commercial features some of the world’s biggest stars – including Jonny Moseley, George Lopez and Anna Faris – who joined the chorus of voices powering California’s global brand.

  • $49 Million Media
  • 245 Million Broadcast
  • $238 Million Earned
    Media Value

‘All Dreams Welcome’

Seismic shifts in the global travel landscape led to Visit California’s response, a new optimization on the Dream Big brand: “All Dreams Welcome.” The initiative rolls out the red carpet for international visitors with activations on owned channels, integrated PR efforts and cooperative opportunities, including CEO missions to Mexico and Canada.

  • $1 Million Investment
  • $441 Thousand Earned
    Media Value


Highlighted by the launch of a new family spot, ‘Welcome to Kidifornia,’ the Family Initiative also included dedicated content on owned channels, digital media partnerships and global earned media efforts – including a 40-ton sand sculpture activation in New York City – that showcased all the reasons why California is the ultimate family playground.

  • $10 Million Media Investment
  • 93 Million Households
  • $34 Million Earned
    Media Value

‘Golden State of Luxury’

Check out the newly launched initiative targeting super affluent travelers, ‘Golden State of Luxury.’ A multiyear, direct-to-consumer paid media campaign made up the bulk of the activations, fueled by partnerships with luxury companies, publications and celebrities while debuting at the world’s top luxury trade shows, including ILTM Cannes.

  • $3.5 Million Media Investment
  • 475 Million Ad Impressions
  • $19 Million Earned
    Media Value

Visit California fueled inspiration and desire for the California brand and travel experience worldwide through a foundation of “Always On” marketing activity across paid, owned, earned and travel trade channels, designed to complement audience-centric marketing programs.

‘Always on’ Marketing highlights
Travel Trade


Paid advertising reached consumers in 11 high-ROI markets through broadcast, online television and digital promotions across social media, search and content distribution.

  • $49 Million Investment
  • 245 Million Broadcast
  • 11 Billion Impressions


California’s bounty was featured across Visit California’s extensive network of owned channels, including Dream365TV, social media, global websites, e-newsletters, publications and California Welcome Centers.

  • 1.6 Million California Welcome
    Center Visitors
  • 10.5 Million Social Media
  • 60 Years Dream365TV
    Viewing Time
  • 16 Million Unique Visitors to
    Visit California
    Global Websites


Strategic global media efforts – including media calls, missions, events, press trips, digital influencer engagement and expanded resources for media – resulted in editorial placements highlighting the Golden State.

  • $309 Million Global
    Media Value
  • 300 Media Hosted
  • 1,800 Media Event Attendees (Global)

Travel Trade

To boost the state in packaged travel and increase consumer sales, Visit California inspired, engaged and educated travel trade influencers, including through the launch of the California STAR training program.

  • 1,700 Agents Trained
    in Person
  • 14 Markets Launched
    California STAR
    Training and Sales
  • 3,200 California Pages in Travel Brochures


Partnerships with statewide travel and tourism destinations and businesses amplified all regions to consumer, trade and media audiences, both domestic and international.

  • 570 Co-op Partners
  • $580 THOUSAND Awarded in Tourism Marketing Grants
  • 50 PARTICIPANTS Destination Research
We dare to do what others only dream of. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.