They have more money, they stay longer, they are more likely to contribute hotel taxes, and they come from accessible markets.
A new study painted a particularly appealing picture of cultural tourists, visitors whose vacations are based on a destination’s arts and culture offerings.
The report was released last week by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, which has led an effort to pursue the niche market since last spring.
That May, ConVis launched “San Diego Art + Sol,” a $180,000 cooperative campaign with 12 local arts organizations.
This year, 15 arts groups are on board, and the campaign will eventually spend more than $1 million, said Sal Giametta, a ConVis spokesman.
Approximately $470,000 will be spent in cash, Giametta said. The figure includes $130,000 from the various arts organizations and $340,000 from the bureau.
An additional $600,000 of in-kind values will be run through sponsors American Express Co., San Diego Magazine and local TV station KNSD Channel 7/39, he said.
The bureau estimates that the exposure generated by the campaign will be worth more than $2 million to San Diego, Giametta said.
According to Reint Reinders, president and CEO of ConVis, the cultural tourism drive’s goal is to strengthen San Diego’s reputation as a cultural destination and to encourage people to come to San Diego specifically for the county’s arts and culture programs.
The cultural tourist profile study was released by ConVis and the arts organizations last week, timed to coincide with the renewal of the advertising campaign.
The survey was done by mail, sent to 4,500 people who had requested an Art + Sol brochure. Participants were asked about their backgrounds and travel habits.
The results indicated that, compared to the average overnight leisure traveler, cultural tourists have what ConVis described as a “significantly higher” median household income , $74,200, which is $12,000 more than the typical visitor.
Twenty-four percent of the respondents said their household income was $100,000 or more.
As for travel habits, ConVis’ report indicated that cultural tourists also stay in hotels more regularly than other leisure visitors. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said they stayed in area hotels or motels, rather than with friends or family or other types of accommodations. Fifty percent of leisure tourists stay in a hotel, ConVis said.
According to ConVis’ calculations, cultural tourists stay longer; 4.7 nights compared to the 4.1 nights of the average leisure visitor.
The study also indicates that more than half of the county’s cultural tourists would be from the Western states, with 25 percent from Southern California and 10 percent from Arizona, both of which include San Diego’s favored “drive” markets.
Activities would-be cultural tourists said they would take part in weren’t too surprising. Sixty percent said their main activity would be visiting historical sites and museums. The survey’s results indicated festivals in particular would attract 15 percent of the tourists to San Diego.