Playing host is nothing new for Turlock. The town welcomes thousands of athletes and fans to its fields and diamonds each year; sees over 200,000 visitors to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds; and is the site of Christmas and Fourth of July family traditions for thousands of parade attendees.
Turlock recently saw new-found fame as San Francisco 49er fans and Colin Kaepernick supporters flocked to the QB's hometown for a truly unique NFC Championship and Super Bowl experience.
This week, however, Turlock is playing host to an international group of business men and women — all who have a special connection to this Valley town.
Executives from across the globe — including Australia, Iceland and Zimbabwe — are currently in town for MedicAlert Foundation's International Biennial Assembly. The goal of the assembly is to chart the future and prosperity of a nonprofit organization that provides emergency medical information services for all who need it; an idea originated by Turlock physician Marion Collins and his wife in 1953.
Although MedicAlert now has 4 million members worldwide, its international headquarters is still right here in Turlock.
MedicAlert's international guests are staying in Turlock hotels and the assembly is meeting at the Carnegie Arts Center. Two assembly dinners are being held — one at the Turlock Golf & Country Club and one at Pageo Lavender Farm. The visitors also have a free evening, where they will have a chance to see, shop and dine at other Turlock businesses.
These esteemed business guests are just a part of the rise in tourism Turlock is enjoying.
The number of occupied rooms in Turlock hotels increased 16.6 percent from September 2011 to September 2012; and since 2006, room demand in Turlock has grown by 33.5 percent. For 2012, room revenue in Turlock generated more than $8.5 million for hoteliers, an increase of 19.5 percent from the year prior.
Along with business guests, Turlock is also seeing a bump in agritourism.
A 2011 report showed 2.4 million people visited California farms, generating $35 million in revenue. This agritourism trend included visits to farm stands, U-pick fields, farm stays, tours, on-farm classes, fairs, festivals, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, winery weddings, orchard dinners, youth camps, barn dances, hunting or fishing, and guest ranches.
All of those can be found in and around Turlock.
When it comes to sporting events, Turlock has it covered. Pedretti Park has four softball fields and a hardball field and the Turlock Regional Sports Complex, has 10 soccer fields and two softball diamonds. California State University, Stanislaus has also hosted quite a few NCAA and California Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments in the past few years.
According to the Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau, each visiting sports player brings in about $70 for Turlock businesses for a single-day visit. That estimate includes money for gas, food, snacks and incidentals spent by each player and his or her family members during their trip to Turlock. An overnight stay averages about $150 per player.
If each team averages 12 players, there could be anywhere from 240 to 720 athletes visiting Turlock. That is anywhere between $16,800 and $50,400 spent in Turlock if each team only stays one day. If 40 teams stay for three nights, the total money spent would be around $216,000.
The seasonal influx of visitors that is a common occurrence at our state's natural wonders — clogging the streets, stores and beaches — is just something that year-round residents have to put up with.
Could Turlockers soon have the same problem?