In February of 2023, Discover Coronado released findings from its 2022 Economic Impact Study. Overall, the study showed a “dramatic improvement” in Coronado’s economic health, which has been slowly recovering in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study showed not only a high demand for conventions here on island, but the economic success that results from such conventions. I spoke with the Executive Director of Discover Coronado, Todd Little, to find out what this study means for our community, and how Discover Coronado is helping to maintain our economic well-being.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Discover Coronado, they are known as “Coronado’s destination marketing organizing.” Discover Coronado works to enrich Coronado’s economy through partnerships in the hospitality industry, bringing overnight groups and guests to major hotels on island.
“By doing that we obviously impact the revenue of the resorts, but what happens is that it benefits the businesses that surround the hotels, and it drives the tax base to the City of Coronado,” started Little. “Those taxes are used, as you might know, for things such as fire departments, police departments, libraries, and community grants.”
The main focus of Discover is marketing. They do a lot of group outreach, traveling to different markets across the United States in hopes of selling Coronado as an ideal destination to hold a convention. For example, this week Discover’s Destination Sales Director will be traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina, meeting with people to educate them on everything Coronado, and hopefully secure a convention.
“So we go there and we share with them our story, and the reasoning behind coming to Coronado, what the advantages are, what we have to offer as far as attributes,” Little explained. “And then we hopefully close the business, they come to town and each of their attendees not only attend the sessions but between sessions they walk around Orange Avenue and maybe they’ll buy a cup of coffee, or look at other things to purchase, or maybe go out to dinner.” Little explained that this is really all about sharing the wealth with the entire community.
This is the sixth year in a row in which Discover Coronado has conducted this study, which aims at quantifying the company’s work. “Numbers don’t lie, and in this latest report we see the incredible impact of bringing conventions and groups to Coronado, as well as the strength of having other guests,” explained Little.
The study states that Coronado room nights sold improved 24% in 2022, posting an increase of approximately 78,000 room nights sold. This year’s report proves that the economy is normalizing after having a peak year in 2018, and a downfall following COVID-19. According to the study, Coronado hosted over 74,000 group hotel visitors in 2022, a 141% increase from 2021 but still 22% lower than in 2018. “The study was met with a lot of optimism and gratitude that our systems are working, and are really benefitting the hotels in addition to everyone else in Coronado.”
Little notes that if Discover Coronado is successful at bringing conventions and larger groups to Coronado, it affords them a lager opportunity to support local community programs. In the past, Discover Coronado has been one of the major sponsors of the Free Summer Shuttle, they fund the art banners that line Orange Avenue, played a huge role in reimagining the 2022 tree lighting project and more.
“When we are successful, it gives us opportunities to support community organizations, community events, and to enrich the community as a whole,” started Little. “So we are excited because this report tells us that we are doing the right thing and sharing the wealth with the community of Coronado.”
Amongst many findings, the study showed that visiting groups produced $113.5 million in direct spending and a total economic impact of $164.1 million. This is a large improvement over previous, post-pandemic years.
“2022 was a very good year for Coronado, with the total economic impact of group travel sustaining 950 jobs on Coronado Island and generating $8.2 million in local tax revenues,” Little said.
Many locals worry about the impact this kind of tourism will have on their daily lives. To that, Little notes that most of these conventions come to town in off-seasons, and take place during weekdays while most are at work.
“The physical impact of conventions is hardly felt by Coronadoans, even sold out conventions at the Hotel del Coronado go largely unnoticed because they happen in the middle of the week most times, in the middle of the off season… and honestly there is not traffic because most of the attendees that come to the Del or any other hotel usually come by mass transit,” Little explained. “So it is probably the least impactful way for Coronado to benefit from having conventions and groups. We really are blessed that we have guests that come in summer, and we are even more bless that they are coming in the off-season… We are very thankful that things are going well.”
To learn more about Discover Coronado, and view the 2022 Economic Impact Study results, visit https://discovercoronado.com/impact/.
VOL. 113, NO. 10 - Mar. 8, 2023
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