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California’s tourism industry powers dreams

By Dan Smith | 2 min

In a tourism industry experiencing unprecedented growth in California, the women and men it employs provide the most compelling stories.

Those stories can be told with numbers.

  • Research shows tourism provides an accessible entry point to the working world. Four in 10 tourism workers were in school or unemployed before entering the industry.
  • Nationally, 38 percent of all first jobs were in travel and tourism, double the proportion of any other industry.
  • Working in tourism early in life builds important skills – customer service, communications, problem solving -- that lead to successful careers.
  • Nationally, those who started in tourism and then got college degrees eventually attained a maximum annual salary of $125,400 by the time they were 50.
  • Fifteen California State University campuses offer degrees, including masters’ degrees, in hospitality and tourism.

But the best testimony about the importance of tourism comes from the tourism team members themselves.

These are the people for whom the career has had a significant impact. Tourism employment became a lifelong pursuit or helped them navigate a critical point in their life, or simply provided pure joy in the workplace every day.

Watch their stories.


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