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Visitors help boost Turlock economy
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Tourism is growing in Turlock and the money it brings into town is becoming a strong economic driver for the city, according to the recently released annual report from the Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Even though the economic recession had an impact on the tourism trade as a whole, Turlock has continued to build on the local tourism industry. From annual events like the Stanislaus County Fair and the Turlock Swap Meet to special events like sports tournaments, Turlock has continually seen the number of visitors to the city increase, based on room occupancy at the hotels around town, and as such has seen revenue increase.

“We are starting to recover and gain some momentum,” said CVB Director Desa Cammack.

The number of occupied rooms in Turlock hotels increased 16.6 percent from September 2011 to September 2012. The rest of Stanislaus County saw an increase of 5.2 percent, according to the CVB report. Since 2006, room demand in Turlock has grown by 33.5 percent, while the county recorded a 5.9 percent decrease overall.

“We spoke to our hoteliers and they believe the increase is likely coming from large projects like Gallo and Blue Diamond coming to the area,” Cammack said.

The occupancy rate in Turlock in 2012 was at 70.7 percent with the highest rates set during the spring and summer months. Stanislaus County had an occupancy rate of 60.5 percent.

For the year, room revenue in Turlock generated more than $8.5 million for hoteliers. In 2012 room revenue increased by 19.5 percent from the year prior, the CVB reported.

The more rooms rented translates into more Transient Occupancy Tax revenue for Turlock. Turlock is the only Stanislaus County city to see Transient Occupancy Tax revenue increase consistently since 2005. In 2011, Turlock collected $697,200 in Transient Occupancy Tax. The Transient Occupancy Tax data is collected by fiscal year from the California Travel and Tourism Commission and 2012 information has not been released yet. However, based on the room demand in 2012, the CVB is expecting Turlock will again see Transient Occupancy Tax revenues increase.

Over the last year the CVB has initiated new marketing campaigns for Turlock. The CVB rolled out a mobile app particularly helpful for visitors. The Turlock CVB app features a calendar of events, lists of nearby businesses and places, and deals from local vendors. The CVB and the Turlock Chamber of Commerce also heavily circulated marketing DVDs promoting Turlock.

“It’s an enticement to pull them into our town,” Cammack said.

In 2012 the CVB contributed $47,000 to events designed to bring people into town.

“We always funnel as much as we can into those events,” Cammack said.

Over this year the CVB hopes to unveil a three-year marketing plan, develop an event recruitment package and showcase Turlock to tour operators as a stop on their itineraries.

“We will be refreshing their minds as to what Turlock has to offer,” Cammack said.