Last updated: 01:17 PM ET, Sun July 10 2016

Tourism Helps Boost California Economy To Sixth-Largest In World

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | July 10, 2016

Tourism Helps Boost California Economy To Sixth-Largest In World

PHOTO: San Francisco brings in tourists, and tourists helped push the state of California to record-breaking growth. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

Tourism was one of the key factors that helped the state of California become the world’s sixth-largest economy in 2015, according to a report released Friday by the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

That’s right – one single state had a bigger global economy than some of the largest countries in the world.

California had a gross state product of $2.5 trillion in 2015. That was behind only the United States’ gross domestic product of $17.8 trillion, which was followed by China ($10.9 trillion), Japan ($4.1 trillion), Germany ($3.6 trillion) and – for the moment, depending on how the Brexit decision plays out – the United Kingdom at $ 2.9 trillion.

California was ahead of such countries as France, Italy, Brazil, Australia and Argentina, among others. 

And while the tech sector in the Bay Area was generally regarded as the biggest factor in California’s growth, record tourism was one key element in boosting the state among the world’s biggest economies.

According to eTurboNews, tourists spent $122.5 billion in California in 2015, generating more than 1 million jobs in direct employment and more than 727,000 jobs with earnings of $41.9 billion. Total direct and secondary employment was $1.8 million jobs with earnings of $83.2 billion.

Travel generated local tax revenue in California in 2015 was $4.6 billion, according to ETN, and was driven by lodging sales. That represents 4.2 percent of all State and Municipal tax revenue equivalent to $750 per resident household. The GDP of California travel industry was $62.5 billion in 2015.

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