SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The country's tourism industry is wrapping up National Travel & Tourism Week, recognizing the significant role that the tourism industry plays in the U.S. economy. Locally, most Sacramento residents know that agriculture, government and healthcare are big players in the Capital City. But under the radar, Sacramento's tourism and hospitality industry is a powerhouse of its own, generating more than $3.4 billion in economic impact, according to Visit California. The Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is leading the charge in showcasing the new era in Sacramento for visitors, booking more than 200,000 hotel room nights and 400 meetings, conventions and sporting events in the 2013-14 fiscal year alone.
The SCVB works continually to showcase Sacramento to visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and amateur and professional sports organizations from across the globe. The organization has aggressively marketed the region both domestically and abroad, and over the last five years, the SCVB has increased the number of hotel stays booked citywide for conventions, sporting events and other tour groups by more than 100,000 room nights. Beyond boosting the city's bottom line, Visit California reports that the industry supported more than 28,000 jobs in Sacramento County in 2014. Tourism and occupancy taxes generated by overnight guests' hotel stays also fueled $21.4 million to pay for vital city services like police and fire.
"The tremendous growth that we've seen over the last few years is a testament to the exciting things that are happening in Sacramento," said Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Steve Hammond. "Our team is going head to head with leading destinations across the West Coast, and we're finding that visitors are excited about the unique offerings that only our city brings to the table."
In addition to convention sales and tourism, the SCVB oversees three key divisions that benefit residents and tourists alike. The organization manages the Sacramento region's farm-to-fork initiative, which is rapidly expanding from a year-round local program to a nationally-recognized campaign. The SCVB also acquired the Sacramento Sports Commission in 2013, and since has attracted high-impact events like the Amgen Tour of California, USA Track & Field Championships and the Bassmasters Elite tournament. Lastly, the SCVB co-manages Sacramento365 - the region's largest event website - in partnership with the Convention & Cultural Services and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.
"Tourism is an under-the-radar industry in Sacramento because most of our sales and marketing efforts are directed outside of the area - we're primarily targeting potential visitors instead of residents," said SCVB Chief Operating Officer Mike Testa. "But while residents may not realize it, the visitors that are coming here for conventions, our farm-to-fork events or sports competitions are vital to our economy. They're eating in our restaurants, visiting our attractions and sleeping in our hotels, and those tourism dollars have a big impact."
"The work of the city's tourism industry is essential for our business," said Glenn Stewart, event coordinator at Lucca Restaurant and Bar in midtown Sacramento. "From large conventions that fill the dining room for lunch to tour groups that come through looking for a taste of farm-to-fork, outside visitors are as vital as residents when it comes to keeping the restaurant thriving."
Leveraging Sacramento's thriving culinary scene, the SCVB recently launched a marketing campaign in key visitor markets using the slogan "Feed Your Soul." The campaign is aimed at inviting visitors to slow down and enjoy time with family and friends in Sacramento. Locally, the organization is also launching a social media and advertising campaign aimed at familiarizing residents with Sacramento's farm-to-fork scene called "We Are America's Farm-to-Fork Capital."
For more information on the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, visit visitsacramento.com.
About the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is a non-profit organization funded by a local hotel self-assessment and business membership throughout the greater Sacramento region, the City of Sacramento and the County of Sacramento. As the premier economic development and services organization for the region's $3.4 billion convention and tourism industry, the SCVB develops and executes sales, marketing and customer service programs to help strengthen the regional economy, as well as the bottom lines of our member businesses and marketing partners. Divisions of the SCVB include the Sacramento Sports Commission, Sacramento365.com (a joint partnership with Convention & Cultural Services and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission) and the region's ongoing farm-to-fork program.
The SCVB's dedicated volunteer board represents all aspects of the industry's most important stakeholders, including lodging, meeting facilities, attractions, restaurants, arts and culture, government, retail, and transportation.