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.”