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We’re Traveling More In California, But Numbers Are Still Not At Pre-Pandemic Levels

A man in a green T-shirt holding a guide book films himself doing a virtual tour of the beach in Santa Monica with the ferris wheel and pier as his backdrop.
Adam Duford, owner of Surf City Tours, describes iconic sites in Santa Monica as part of a "virtual tour" via his Instagram feed in March 2020. The pandemic took a massive bite out of tourism here and worldwide.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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Travel in California is recovering as we emerge from pandemic shutdowns.

According to a new report from Visit California, which works to promote tourism in the state, travel-based tax revenue grew by almost 25% last year, but international travel restrictions and people traveling less for work are still having an impact.

Here’s some of the report's findings:

  • Travel-related spending in the state increased to $100 billion, a jump of 46% from 2020 to 2021.
  • 22 million people arrived in California on domestic flights, up from 14 million, a 57% increase. 
  • Compared to the peak of 2019, travel-related spending was still down nearly 31% in 2021.
  • Travel-related spending led to more than 900,000 jobs statewide. 

The numbers are based on "statewide visitor trips," defined as an overnight stay away from home, or travel more than 50 miles one way on a non-routine trip. 

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