Newport tourist visits hit record 7.3 million in 2016, study says

Newport Beach is claiming record-high visitation numbers, with 7.3 million people passing through town last year.

The previous record was 7 million, according to the most recent Visitor Impact Study released this past week by Newport Beach & Co., the city’s tourism marketing agency.

In other findings from the study, which covered activity from June 2016 through July this year:

  • Direct visitor spending totaled an estimated $1.2 billion, or $3.2 million a day.
  • Visitors generated $43 million in local taxes.
  • Most visitors were day-trippers; only 9.6% stayed in hotels.
  • However, hotel guests spent the most — $529 million of the $1.2 billion. Of the $529 million, $299 million was for hotel lodging.
  • About 80% of visitors planned a trip to the beach. About 5% planned to go whale watching.
  • About 58% stopped by the Newport Pier, 29% at the Balboa Pier and 18% at Fashion Island.
  • Of those who flew in, more landed at Los Angeles International Airport (47.3%) than John Wayne Airport (42.5%).
  • International visitors accounted for 6.5% of guests. The top home countries were Canada, Mexico and France.
  • The vast majority (84%) of domestic visitors were from California. Next was Arizona (2.6%).
  • About 36% of visitors were ages 21-34. The average visitor was 37.

“Tourism plays a vital role in our community,” Mayor Kevin Muldoon told the crowd at Thursday’s Newport Beach & Co. Marketing Outlook Dinner. “It supports 16,000 jobs and generates $43 million in taxes paid by visitors. … In fact, it’s the third-largest revenue source for the city of Newport.”

Without tourist spending, according to Newport Beach & Co. and its analysts, every Newport Beach household would have to pay an additional $1,139 in taxes per year and spend $43,922 more locally to make up the difference.

hillary.davis@latimes.com

Twitter: @Daily_PilotHD

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