With “Travel Forward” as Its Theme,
National Travel and Tourism Week Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary
Rancho Mirage, California (May 8, 2023) — Today, day one of U.S. Travel Association’s 40th National Travel and Tourism Week, Visit Greater Palm Springs (VGPS) announces the results of its 2022 Economic Impact of Visitors in Greater Palm Springs study. Post-pandemic, the destination has exceeded all prior records—that after achieving its previous highest economic impact in 2019 at $ 7.5 billion. In 2022, the tourism industry generated $8.7 billion in total economic impact to Greater Palm Springs, surpassing tourism’s economic impact in 2019 by 16% and in 2021 by 28%. This continuing upward trajectory of the industry bolsters tourism’s social benefits by supporting jobs, decreasing the amount of taxes local residents have to pay for the same level of essential services, and increasing visitor spending at local businesses.
Developed in conjunction with Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, the report shows that visitor travel spending increased 26% from 2021 across all sectors bringing in a total of $ 7.1 billion in spending, equating to more than $19 million each day in visitor spending across the region. This increase in tourism and visitation provided $812 million in state & local tax revenues to support essential services and saves each household in Greater Palm Springs $5,000 in taxes. Another key highlight from the study is the number of jobs—49,137— sustained by tourism in 2022. This represents 1 in 4 jobs in Greater Palm Springs, from executive and management roles to frontline staff and entrepreneurs across a range of sectors that includes lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation, entertainment, transportation, and more. This shows a great success story of the destination’s job force recovery, as tourism-generated job numbers dipped down to 37,251 in 2021.
“Our goal is to promote our unique and diverse destination to the world while advancing regional collaboration to improve the quality of life for our residents and partners,” said Scott White, President & CEO, Visit Greater Palm Springs. “The impact of tourism continues to play a key role in supporting this mission to our community. We feel a great sense of purpose that our industry supports local businesses, jobs, and residents alike, and we are committed to the future success of tourism. I am proud of our team and grateful for the support and leadership from our Board of Directors and our JPA Executive Committee, which allowed our team to elevate sales and marketing efforts before and after the pandemic. This has kept our destination top of mind with both consumers and group clients.”
“Tourism is the number one industry in the Coachella Valley and continues to play a key role in Greater Palm Springs’ economy,” said Rolf Hoehn, Board of Directors Chair, Visit Greater Palm Springs, and Director of Business Development for Desert Champions LLC/Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “With continued and growing interest in our destination by visitors from around the world, we celebrate the industry and its powerful contribution to support our region and its residents.”
“Regional collaboration among the valley cities has been a pillar of our tourism ecosystem, allowing us to grow domestic and international awareness of all that the entire Coachella Valley has to offer,” said Gary Gardner, Desert Hot Springs City Council Member and Visit Greater Palm Springs Joint Powers Authority Chair. “The jobs generated, the money spent by visitors, and the taxes generated, all support so many of the vital resources in our communities which in turn directly impacts our residents’ way of life.”
Established in 1983 by the U.S. Travel Association, National Travel and Tourism Week is an annual celebration of the U.S. travel community and travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses, and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day. Each year the initiative has a new theme, with 2023 being “travel forward,” spotlighting the industry’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating diverse communities, creating fresh job opportunities, inspiring new businesses, and uniting millions of Americans in a fundamental connection—travel.
While the U.S. Travel Association has adopted the “forward” thematic direction for 2023, VGPS has been committed to progressing the industry for years, moving from a marketing organization created in 1989 to leading destination management. VGPS continues to have a special interest in creating a robust talent pipeline from the local community to good jobs by strengthening the connection between education and hospitality; championing a welcoming and inclusive resident and visitor experience through DEI initiatives; and conserving the destination’s resources, both culturally and physically, through responsible tourism leadership and messaging.
An example of this industry training can be seen during National Travel and Tourism Week’s annual recognition of the industry. Throughout the week, VGPS will connect local tourism partners with a series of activities that include:
- Monday, May 8 (4-6 p.m.) – Industry Happy Hour, an evening of celebration and giving back featuring local food vendors, music and resources for partners, a raffle to support the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation, and opportunities to donate to local charity FIND Food Bank.
- Tuesday, May 9 (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – LifeStream Blood Donation, a nonprofit, independent blood bank that is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to all hospitals in Greater Palm Springs. Donations accepted.
- Wednesday, May 10 (10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) – TEAM GPS Champions class with lunch provided by Clandestino. Learn more about Greater Palm Springs and gain a better understanding of the community, along with all the attractions and activities available to visitors.
- Wednesday, May 10 (10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) – “Maximizing Your VGPS Partnership” workshop. Visit Greater Palm Springs members can learn how to update their account, listings and images, as well as add events and special offers. Workshop includes review of benefits, co-op opportunities and partner resources.
- Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12 – DEI plan workshop with Travel Unity. Attract and retain employees and develop a better understanding of customers with a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy. Travel Unity is a nonprofit focused on increasing diversity in the world of travel through individual and community empowerment. Three sessions are available: Thursday, 2-5 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. – noon; and Friday 1-4 p.m.
All events will be held at the Visit Greater Palm Springs office located at 70100 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage next to Las Casuelas Nuevas.
In addition to National Travel and Tourism Week, May is California Tourism Month, the state of California’s official observance of tourism’s essential role in the state’s economy and identity. This year, Visit California and California’s tourism industry are celebrating the ongoing strength and resilience of California’s travel industry after the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
For a full schedule of activities and to RSVP for events, please visit: visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/national-travel-and-tourism-week. Space is limited and reservations requested.
To view the 2022 Economic Impact of Visitors in Greater Palm Springs study, please visit: PDF link:
About Visit Greater Palm Springs
Visit Greater Palm Springs (VGPS) is the official destination marketing and management organization for the nine-city Southern California oasis comprising Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella. Founded in 1989 with a mission to positively affect the destination’s tourism economy and quality of life for its residents, Visit GPS provides sales, marketing and PR, and destination development activities to grow visitation from potential leisure travelers and event, meeting, and convention group markets.