Visitors generate $11 million in revenue

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Visitors generate $11 mil

Figures show tourism increased city’s tax, fee income in 2015

By Charles M. Kelly

Avalon’s 2015 end-of-year report  shows visitor-driven revenues increased by almost $11 million last year, a 9.7 percent increase over the previous year. The Chamber of Commerce report is based on city data, according to the Chamber president.

Visitors generate $11 mil

Figures show tourism increased city’s tax, fee income in 2015

By Charles M. Kelly

Avalon’s 2015 end-of-year report  shows visitor-driven revenues increased by almost $11 million last year, a 9.7 percent increase over the previous year. The Chamber of Commerce report is based on city data, according to the Chamber president.

The $11 million figure is based on combined totals from various taxes and fees. According to a summary of the data issued by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, only cruise ship wharf fees decreased and that decrease was just $2,2000 less than in 2014. “Generally, it’s good news,” said Robert Mescher, Avalon’s Finance director.

The Chamber report is available on the Chamber website. City financial information is available on Finance Department page of the city’s website.

Generally, visitor-driven revenues have been increasing since 2001, according to a Chamber spreadsheet. There were small decreases in 2007 and 2008. Revenue decreased 16.5 percent in 2009. But revenue has been going up since then.

According to the Feb. 26 staff report to the City Council, “hotel occupancy rates were relatively flat.”

However, according to the Chamber’s spreadsheet, income from the transient occupancy (hotel bed) tax increased 15 percent last year.

According to HdL Companies (sic), the city’s consultant, actual sales increased 3.3 percent from July to September of last year. The fourth quarter 2015 report is not yet available.

However, according to the Chamber speadsheet, the 2015 sales tax revenue increased by about $40,000 from 2014. Those numbers have not been audited.

Chamber President/CEO Jim Luttjohann attributed the increased visitor-driven revenue to mild weather and fewer wind events than the Island has seen so far this year.

He also attributed the increase to marketing activities by the Chamber, the Santa Catalina Island Company and Catalina Express.

“All the writing on the wall indicates an on-going positive trend,” Luttjohann said.

According to Luttjohann, the U.S. Travel Association anticipates people will be traveling more this year.

According to a footnote in the Chamber report, the numbers are based on cash reporting.

The city staff report to the City Council pointed out the report is based on the calendar year.

City accounting is based on a July-June fiscal year.

According to Mescher, you should focus the year-to-year revenues rather than the month-to-month figures.

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