Hold on, Orange County! The Tourists Are Rolling In

Orange County Register

Hold on, Orange County! The Tourists Are Rolling In
By Margot Roosevelt, Joseph Pimentel and Hannah Madans



…Hotel taxes made up a big slice of the local tourism windfall. Overall, Orange County jurisdictions collected $246 million last year, up 13 percent from 2014. The top five: Anaheim ($118 million), Newport Beach ($20.4 million), Garden Grove ($17.2 million), Dana Point ($12.5 million) and Irvine ($10.6 million).

Three new hotels with a total of 606 rooms opened last year, and 11 others –with a total of 2,365 rooms – were under construction. The pace is accelerating: At the end of 2015, planning was underway for 25 more Orange County hotels with 4,200 rooms, according to Alan Reay, president of Irvine’s Atlas Hospitality Group, a hotel brokerage.

“The big spike in the numbers right now is just making up for lost years,” Reay said, noting that development had stalled after the recession because of a lack of financing.

“Today we have escalating revenues, growth in tourism and corporate business and historically low interest rates,” he said. “All of those are green arrows for a perfect environment for new hotel development.”

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