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Here's how tourism is boosting Sacramento's economy

How has a boost in Sacramento events helped the economy?
How has a boost in Sacramento events helped the economy? 02:07

SACRAMENTO — New numbers show California hit an all-time high in tourism revenue last year at more than $150 billion.

From rock concerts to food festivals, tourists attending Sacramento events are providing a big boost to the local economy.

"The impacts that tourism brings to this region is over $4 billion," Visit Sacramento CEO Mike Testa said.

Testa said people have always come from out of town to see the state capitol and the city's gold rush history, but today there's more variety of events.

"Now we have conventions, history, music, food, so many things that give people a reason to come to Sacramento," Testa said.

He said a focus on bringing in more food and music fans is working.

"In 2023, Visit Sacramento generated 332,000 hotel room nights. That's the most we've generated in our 97-year history," Testa said.

Placer County is also diversifying its tourism base by focusing on hosting sports tournaments.

"Between volleyball, basketball, even pickleball, every weekend, we have some sort of tournament happening here," said Kim Summers, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism. "We even do quadball, which is a spin on the quidditch game in Harry Potter books."

Large tournaments can draw more than 5,000 people a day and bring competitors from out of state.

"Just last weekend, we hosted the BMX nationals and so you saw people coming from across the country," Summers said.

Besides creating local jobs, money generated from tourist dollars also goes toward things like modernizing the convention center.

"Tourism isn't about the tourists. It's about benefiting the residents by bringing in dollars from the outside," Testa said.

Sacramento and Placer both say they could host even larger events if more tourism infrastructure was added.

"Part of our problem, candidly, is a lack of hotel rooms," Testa said.

"For us, we just don't have enough facilities," Summers said. "If we had more facilities to put these events, we could host more."

Sacramento's Aftershock rock festival brings in 160,000 people each year, and the GoldenSky country music festival that takes place one week later is adding an additional day this year due to growing demand.

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