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Tourism is a key and rapidly growing part of Placer County’s economy, one that may be able to take advantage of the nation’s economic downturn. 

Those are among the key findings in a 61-page study prepared for the Placer County Office of Economic Development and three tourism agencies the office works with: Placer Valley Tourism, the Placer County Visitors Bureau and North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.

‘The travel industry drives a primary and rapidly growing segment of the economy in Placer County, providing business opportunities, employment and tax revenue for many local communities,’ the study concludes.

The study offers preliminary estimates for tourism’s contributions to Placer County’s economy during 2008, saying travel-related spending totaled $787 million, earnings were $232 million and tax receipts for local and state governments were $43.9 million. Earnings include wages and salaries, paid benefits and proprietor income.

The industry accounted for an estimated 9,460 jobs during 2008. Travel-related employment remained relatively flat from 2002 to 2008, but spending grew at an average rate of 3.8 percent per year. 

The study emphasizes that 2009 is hard to predict because of the nation’s economic conditions, but indicates Placer County is fortunate to have a couple of important reasons for optimism:  Californians are notoriously footloose travelers and Placer County is an easy drive from large regional markets. Placer County, the study concludes, may be an attractive alternative to expensive out-of-state travel. 

The study, ‘Placer County Travel Industry Assessment and Detailed Economic Impact Estimates, 2002-2008,’ was prepared by Dean Runyan Associates and Chuck Nozicka Consulting. It seeks to assist tourism development, planning and marketing efforts throughout the county.

‘Placer County’s wide-ranging, diverse natural landscape and water bodies, combined with a well-established infrastructure and transportation system, offer Californians and visitors from throughout the world the opportunity to visit some of the most appealing and unique destinations,’ the study says.

‘With continued strategic product development, infrastructure maintenance and enhanced regional partnerships, the long-range prospects for travel-generated economic impacts for Placer County are extremely positive.’

The study takes a look at Placer County’s three main regions, making recommendations for each:

ย•The Placer Valley is largely comprised of the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln. The study concludes the area is uniquely positioned for marketing as a team sports and lifestyle destination under the leadership of Placer Valley Tourism, saying such an approach links well with community-development efforts and the promotion of travel and recreation throughout the county.
 
ย•The Gold Country stretches from just below Auburn up to the High Sierra snowbelt. The study emphasizes the area features a full range of outdoor recreation, historical and cultural attractions that offer potential for significant tourism growth. The study calls for more coordination among the organizations that market the area.

ย•The High Country includes North Lake Tahoe and the western slope of the High Sierra within Placer County. The study notes the area has internationally known destinations such as Lake Tahoe and world-class ski resorts and a model tourism-development organization, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. The study stresses the need to maintain support for the resort association and promotion of the area.

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