Tourism & Hospitality

Tourism & Hospitality: Overview   

With its hard-to-match natural beauty and physical attractions, tourism and hospitality in the Monterey Bay Region benefits from the fact that there are few places like it in the world. The area is recognized worldwide as a desirable destination, with excellent facilities, amenities and a variety of attractions.  The outdoor enthusiast will delight in the unparalleled beauty of Big SurPinnacles National Park, or the redwood forests of one of the many state parks in the region.  Golfers dream to play at such courses as Pebble BeachSpyglassCypress PointPasatiempo and over 20 others in the region. 

Families delight in spending the day at the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium or the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  Wine lovers will taste some of the best Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world.  Artists, musicians and theater goers will revel in the galleries of Carmel and the vibrant arts culture in all three counties, including many summer art and music festivals as well as wonderful local performing arts.  

For the most hardy, there are runs, walks, surfing, kayaking, mountain bike riding, kite surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, whale watching, road biking, and every other imaginable sport—all in in the most beautiful place in the world!  For more information on tourism and hospitality in the Monterey Bay region, the links below will provide comprehensive information:

See More: Monterey County        See More: Santa Cruz County       See More: San Benito County


Reports and Presentations

Several organizations have provided numerous reports and presentations about tourism in the Monterey Bay Region. 

Reports and Presentations:
See Monterey Visitor Statistics - Tourism facts and statistics about Monterey County on visitation, hospitality, assets, events and more.
Monterey County Convention & Visitor Bureau (MCCVB) Reports and Presentations - Various research and statistics on tourism in Monterey County including economic impact from several popular events in Monterey County and detailed visitor profiles.
Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council (SCCCV) Reports
Monterey Bay Aquarium Guest Highlights Report
Monterey Bay Aquarium Community Impacts Report
Visit California and Dean Runyan Associates Travel Impact Reports - Economic impact reports on tourism on the state, regional and county level with information on travel impacts, travel spending, travel employment and more.
Monterey Tourism - Infographic provided by MBEP on Visitors, Visitor Profile, Hotels and Total Addressable Market  for Monterey City
Cannery Row Tourism - Infographic provided by MBEP on Cannery Row Visitors and Hotels.

Data SpreadSheet:
Our team here at MBEP has aggregated key tourism data from the above sources to provide you with a spreadsheet for your own use. This data set is part of a larger data set found here: Economic Data

Please click image below to download spreadsheet.


Regional Tourism Information

  • In Monterey County, Tourism is the second largest industry and generated over $2.7 billion in spending in 2015.
  • In 2015, The Tri-County region generated $3.64 billion or 3% of California's total travel spending, while only accounting for 1.96% of the state's population.
  • Tourism generated employment was 24,390 in 2015 in Monterey County, 13% of the county's total industry employment.
  • In Santa Cruz County, Tourism created 9,450 jobs, or 8.9% of the county's total industry employment in 2015.
  • In San Benito County, Tourism generated jobs was 5.4% of the county's industry employment in 2014.
Source(s): California Travel Impacts by County, 1992-2015p (Dean Runyan Associates), State of California Employment Development Department - Unemployment Rate and Labor Force


  • In Monterey County, Food & Beverage Services and Accommodations industries accounted for 30.4% and 26%, respectively, of visitor travel spending by commodity purchased in 2015.
  • In Monterey County, the Accommodations & Food Services industry was 66.8% of the total industry employment generated by travel spending in 2015.
  • In Santa Cruz County, Food & Beverage Services and Accommodations industries accounted for 28.3% and 27.0%, respectively, of visitor travel spending by commodity purchased in 2015.
  • In Santa Cruz County, the Accommodations & Food Services industry was 56.5% of the total industry employment generated by travel spending in 2015, while Arts, Entertainment & Recreation was 32.5%.
  • In San Benito County, Food & Beverage Services and Accommodations combined for 42.3% of visitor travel spending by commodity purchased, much less than Monterey County and San Cruz County, where it was well over 54% of the total.
Source(s): California Travel Impacts by County, 1992-2015p (Dean Runyan Associates)

Select Measure:

Monterey County - Visitors and Hospitality
  • Monterey County attracted over 8.4 million visitors in 2013, with 1.3 million being business related.
  • The Monterey Peninsula makes up the majority of total lodging properties and number of hotel rooms.
  • The Monterey Peninsula is home to 210 out of 252 total lodging properties in Monterey County and 9,588 out of 12,004 total hotel rooms.
Source(s): State of California and D.K. Shifflet & Associates via

Monterey County - Top Activities
  • The AT&T National Pro Am event attracts over 140,000 visitors annually
  • The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosts many events throughout the year that attracts tens of thousands of visitors during each event, with the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix attracting well over 136,000
  • Monterey is the most frequently visited town by a visitor in Monterey County, with over 76% of visitors making the visit to Monterey.
  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf are the most visited attractions in Monterey County
Source(s): SeeMonterey visitor stats, Monterey County CVB Ad 7 Communications Research FY14/15 Mid-Term Research Report


Monterey County - Travel Party Composition and Trip Spending
  • In Monterey County, couples make 49% of all travel parties, followed by family traveling with children at 20%.
  • In Monterey County, The average group trip spending was $1,111, with Lodging/accommodations and Meals/food/groceries accounting for nearly 51% of the total.
Source(s): Monterey County CVB Ad 7 Communications Research FY14/15 Mid-Term Research Report



Santa Cruz County - Top Venues and Activities
  • Santa Cruz County enjoys over 3 million visitor trips every year.
  • 16% of visitors are U.S. state residents outside California and 8% are from foreign countries.
  • In 2010, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Wharf and Downtown Santa Cruz are the most visited venues in Santa Cruz County.
  • In 2010, over 70% of the visitors in Santa Cruz County go to the beach, visit attractions and eat in area restaurants.


Santa Cruz County - Travel Party Composition and Trip Spending
  • In Santa Cruz County, family groups makes up 36% of all travel parties in 2010, followed by couples at 29%.
  • In Santa Cruz County, the average visitor group trip spending per day was $131 in 2010.