Worldwide tourism success is not accidental

Executive Director Tracy Farhad of the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau meets with Danish tour operator Jesper Ewald, president of FDM Travel, at IPW-International Travel Marketplace Trade Show in Washington, D.C., in June.

By Tracy Farhad

The Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau is actively engaged in bringing visitors to Solvang, especially those who stay overnight (thereby spending more dollars on lodging, food, beverages, shopping, and attractions). The SCVB works hard to increase tourism on Sunday-Thursday and in seasonal, quieter times.

Overnight visitors spend an estimated $192 per day in Solvang, while day-trippers spend an average of $58.  Combined visitor spending accounts for more than $98 million dollars annually into Solvang’s economy. Visitors generate important revenue that “trickles down” to other business and residents — increasing the overall economic vitality of Solvang.

One of SCVB’s main purposes in promoting tourism worldwide to Solvang is to help maintain the highest quality of life for residents to enjoy. How does that happen? When visitors spend the night in Solvang’s 18 lodging properties, a large share of their spending goes directly to the city to fund key services for locals.

In fact, more than 53 percent of Solvang’s general fund revenue is derived from hotel transient occupancy tax (known as TOT or bed tax). Did you know that visitors pay 12 percent on top of their hotel room rate per night when staying in Solvang?

According to our studies, without the tax revenue generated by the local tourism industry, Solvang households would each pay $1,450 more in taxes annually, or else cause the city to cut back on services.

Visitors are motivated to travel to destinations with consistent, relationship-building promotions year-round to motivate them. Otherwise, they will go elsewhere to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars.

To maintain these relationships, SCVB uses specific marketing strategies including advertising (print, broadcast, digital); participating in travel trade shows such as Go West (travel agents), National Tour Association (tour bus operators); Scandinavian travel shows; and IPW (international travel, tour and media marketplace); cooperative ventures with Visit California and other tourism promotion agencies; and targeted publicity and media relations efforts, all while serving more thousands of guests in the Solvang Visitors Center at 1639 Copenhagen Drive.

Tourism is a very competitive state, regional and international marketplace. Solvang’s outstanding year-round weather, hotels, unique shops, restaurants, bakeries, attractions and lifestyle are highly sought-after by both residents and visitors alike. We want to keep it that way – since we’re not the only ones offering a truly special vacation destination.

I strongly believe that tourism — our city’s top economic industry — needs to be continually promoted at the right times to the most beneficial audiences to maintain our hard-earned positive, popular position with visitors.

 

Tracy Farhad is Executive Director of the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau. For more information, stop by the Solvang Visitors Center at 1639 Copenhagen Drive, call 805-688-6144, or visit www.SolvangUSA.com.