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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

Discover Coronado Releases 2022 Economic Impact Study

TOURISM: Return of Group Meetings Create Boon for Local Economy

What do popcorn guru Orville Redenbacher, San Diego Padres slugger Manny Machado and “The Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum have in common?

All have called Coronado home at one time or another.

Spanish for “crowned,” Coronado, with its miles of beautiful beaches, myriad bayfront activities, “mom & pop” shopping opportunities along the city’s main street of Orange Avenue and a big U.S. Navy presence, also offers far more than its most famous resident of all – the fabled Hotel del Coronado, a designated National Historic Landmark built in 1888.

The city that is not quite an island (it’s connected by the isthmus of the Silver Strand leading to Imperial Beach) brings visitors from nearby and far away who can come through IB, by ferry from across the San Diego Bay or via the Coronado Bridge/California state Route 75 connecting it to the city of San Diego.

The San Diego Tourism Authority reports that on average, San Diego receives 35.1 million visitors annually.

Rena Clancy
Coronado Chamber of Commerce
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“Coronado is a small island but we play in the big leagues,” said Rena Clancy, executive director of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce. “Our destination is chock full of history, art, outdoor activities, gorgeous beaches, delectable dining and green spaces.”

Clancy is also a member of Discover Coronado, formerly known as the Coronado Tourism Improvement District, the city’s official destination marketing organization. The group recently released its 2022 Economic Impact Study that provides more than a casual look at the city’s tourism and travel sector.

The economic impact study, put together for Discover Coronado by Oxford Economics, showed 2022 was a year of marked recovery and dramatic improvement in tourism for Coronado.

Todd Little
Executive Director
Discover Coronado

Discover Coronado, funded by assessments paid by overnight guests to several of the city’s hotels – including the Hotel del Coronado – has its pulse on the city that was incorporated in 1890 and “is at the intersection of commerce and community,” said Todd Little, for 13 years the executive director of Discover Coronado.

The group supports the overall community, said Little, “being mindful of keeping resorts strong and profitable while also recognizing the needs of constituents and residents of Coronado.”

Rebounding from COVID

Discover Coronado reported that in fiscal year 2020, 361 group meetings were canceled in Coronado, adding up to over $44 million in lost revenue. With that, hotel room occupancy fell 60% and more than 1,200 hospitality jobs were lost. While 2021 renewed hope, further waves of pandemic variants continued to mute gains.

But lately, things have been trending toward the positive. Oxford Economics’ study verified the important economic impact of group meetings and conventions on Coronado – and the subsequent effect on nearby businesses, job creation and taxes collected by the city.

Pent-up demand for group travel supported spending that surpassed 2019 totals in Coronado. In 2022, groups spent $113.5 million in direct visitor spending, generating a total economic impact of $164.1 million in the city.

The total economic impact sustained 950 jobs (supporting 11% of all jobs in Coronado) and generated $8.2 million in local tax revenues in 2022. According to the report, each household in Coronado would need to be taxed an additional $1,150 to replace the visitor taxes local government received in 2022.

The report also said that member hotels – the Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, Glorietta Bay Inn Coronado Island Resort and Loews Coronado Bay Resort – sold 387,000 room nights in 2022, an increase of 24% from 2021.

The overall occupancy rate recovered to 66.1% in 2022 due to a resurgence in group travel and conventioneers. Group occupancy more than doubled to 27.5% in 2022. Little said that group meeting attendees represent $1,524 in revenue on average during their convention, about $401 per visitor per day.

Group travel is a vital economic engine for the city as it funds Coronado’s collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes, which reached $12 million in 2022.

“The TOT funds critical community services in Coronado such as the local police and fire departments, libraries, park and recreation programs and grants for local organizations,” Little said. “Coronado’s economic health is dependent on a substantial, but carefully managed, group travel sector – a critical driver of our city’s future.”

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Coronado hosted more than 74,000 group meeting attendees last year, a 141% increase from 2021 (although that total is still 22% lower than the peak year of 2018, Little said);
  • Group room nights plummeted 76% in 2020, and although that figure rose 66% in 2021, group room demand’s recovery began in earnest in 2022, with a 140% rise from 2021;

• The 165,908 group room nights in 2022 generated $66.4 million in lodging spending and $113.5 million in total visitor spending, including transportation, restaurants, retail, recreation and other services.


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