The 2016-2017 fiscal year was highlighted by the launch of the new Santa Maria Valley tourism brand and by increased collaboration with our local industry partners to more effectively promote our community and grow the local hospitality industry.
Operating under the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Visitor and Convention Bureau performs two key roles. First, the VCB actively promotes events that occur in our community which generate economic activity both by attracting out-of-town guests and by including local residents. This work is now enhanced by the Tourism Marketing District, which concentrates on out-of-market marketing targeted more specifically to building overnight visitations. Secondly, the VCB works to ensure visitors to our community are welcomed, provided with direction and connections and leave having experienced the best possible hospitality during their stay, resulting in repeat visits.
Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) does not capture the full impact visitors have to our local economy and only tracks the value of overnight stays, however it does serve as a tool to capture trends and activity.
TOT collection receipts for 2016-2017 fiscal year exceeded $3.4 million, up 1.4% from a record high the previous year.
Travel and tourism are one of America’s largest industries. Our Visitor Center is open five days a week and provides assistance to visitors, groups and event planners. To ensure information is available 24/7, the VCB distributes visitor information from a variety of places throughout Santa Maria Valley and offers information online through a new visitor website, barbecue blog, association listings, and visibility on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a YouTube Channel and Flickr.
Thanks to the overwhelming support of the community the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley continues to exceed our expectations. Because of this the season has officially been extended through October 1. Great news for locals and visitors alike! The Santa Maria Wine Trolley is an innovative public transportation experience. The concept pilot program was an outgrowth of collaborative discussions between the City and the Chamber. The service runs every Saturday and Sunday including Memorial Day and Labor Day and gives riders access to seven tasting rooms, breweries and many restaurants. Nearly 500 rider wristbands have been distributed to-date.
Get your tickets in advance for only $10! Step aboard the charming trolley and enjoy sipping our areas finest varietals as you hop-on and hop-off at your convenience. It really is an experience! Visit santamariavalley.com/winetrolley for details or follow the trolley on Facebook by searching Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley.
A glimpse ahead! As summer winds down the bureau’s efforts do not and we will continue our goals of building partnerships, hosting journalists, bicycling tourism, Restaurant Week, special events and much more!
Please visit our new website at SantaMariaValley.com and share it with your out-of-town friends and family. It’s a wonderful resource to find lodging options, plan activities, learn about attractions, view our events calendar, and enjoy our new tourism video and more! You can link to all our social media platforms to stay abreast of all the great things people are saying about us and discover what’s happening in and around the Santa Maria Valley!