Travelers Spent a Record $448 million in Humboldt for 2017

Bolling Grove Avenue

Bolling Grove on the Avenue of the Giants [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Press release from the Eureka-Humboldt Visitors Bureau:

Total traveler spending generated a record $448 million for Humboldt County in 2017, an increase of four percent over 2016, according to newly released government tourism data. In a related trend, the local lodging industry had its highest bed tax collection as well last year, collecting more than $7.5 million, a jump of nine percent, well above the three percent average rise for the state.

Eureka posted the highest dollar gain among the cities, $131,000, for a total bed tax collection of $3 million. Unincorporated Humboldt County, likewise, notched an impressive gain of $311,000, almost 18 percent over the previous year, to push its total to more than $2 million.

“Despite a drop in international travel to the United States last year, Humboldt has yet again outperformed the national and state industry averages,” said Eureka-Humboldt Visitors Bureau executive director Tony Smithers. “We think this has to do with the strength of our core attraction, the redwoods, and the success of our marketing focus on them.”

In 2017, visitors to the county spent most of their money on food — $150 million. Next was lodging at $107 million. Transportation costs accounted for $59 million, entertainment and recreation at $58 million, and retail sales at $44 million.

Travel spending generated almost $17 million in local tax receipts and $20 million in state tax receipts in Humboldt County, according to the new state tourism report, published by Dean Runyan and Associates, the nation’s premier travel industry market research firm. Industry employment generated by travel spending accounted for 5,540 jobs, a slight increase over 2016.

This year could prove to be another banner year, Smithers said, given that, in conjunction with the bureau, Lonely Planet announced in February that it had selected California’s Redwood Coast, essentially Humboldt County, as its number one U.S. travel destination for 2018.

“With hundreds of top media outlets around the world covering that news, the message that we’re number one was delivered more than a billion times to potential visitors,” Smithers said, citing the media report from Lonely Planet, the world’s top seller of travel guides.

To further the Lonely Planet message, the bureau organized an international contest in which the winners get a free trip to Humboldt, and is distributing Lonely Planet window clings for businesses that want to tout the Best In the US award.



  • Yay. Maybe some Floridians will come up and teach how to drive.

  • All that this proves is how expensive everything is in Humboldt.
    In the past, the tourists were tallied.
    In comparison, it’s fair to say we can deduce that prices have increased while tourism have decreased.

  • Let’s make it easier for the tourist to get here, widen Richardson Grove.

    • local observer

      this may come as a shock but the tourist come here to see the trees right up against the road. the future of Humboldt is tourism.

  • They think was generated by the redwoods , try more like generated cause of out of town pot dealers staying hotels and eating out ….

  • Three people came for pot, a million to see our trees, more or less……..

  • Taurus Ballzhoff

    Anyone got a store front for sale? Lease? How about a tourist trap site? Thanks!

    • Give Smithers a shovel

      It’s about time the County started budgeting money for roads into our desireable landscapes. They are bragging about all the money we’re bringing in. How about using some of your bed tax largesse for roads instead of raiding Measure Z revenue. I know of at least two groups of tourists who got stranded out in the Mattole with broken rims from potholes. One couple was stuck for 36 hrs, and had to have a friend from San Jose drive up and pick them up, they had to hitchhike to 101, after their first tow truck broke something too. We put them up for free, so no revenue for us, and none for the county. Thats an example of how the County has shifted the burden. Instead of Humboldt paying for normal road maintenance, we citizens are paying one front end at a time.

  • Some undoubtedly come for the beauty. Drive the Avenue of the Giants in the summer, it’s quite busy, and very beautiful.

  • Why is it so hard for folks to believe people want to visit here?
    Things are more expensive so thats why we ended up generating the most in taxes??? Really?? Maybe a little, have you been to the bay area or santa Cruz or LA for that matter??? Talk about more expensive prices that could skew taxes! Isn’t our tourism tax a fixed price on every room anyways?

    I was reminded of how amazing our area is when last year friends came from Vermont and told me how they stood in the old growth redwood grove in total awe, tears streaming down their face from the sheer pure intense exuberance of feeling the majesty of the ancient ones. They said it was the closest they felt to feeling “god”.
    Its unfortunately not possible to be in those old growth stands many other places than here and del Norte, its unique. Like the grand canyon.

    In case you dont make it to so hum in the summer, the lost coast brings in tons of tourism as do the new mountain bike trails in the king range wilderness. The many festivals bring in money all summer. Dean creek brings in a lot actually, the rv park is great for the area!! Need more of those.

    In northern humboldt, Godwit days, kinetic sculpture race, humboldt state graduation wknd (try finding a hotel room anywhere during that wknd), del arte, fishing, and the many festivals and music shows all bring in loads of people. Even those who live in the hills and want to come see music and have some drinks and not drive home that nite make an impact.
    We have Bigfoot days and the bridgeville ufo festival; car shows and rodeos.

    And like it or not we need to embrace and support pot tourism. We already have the name and reputation, it would be like Napa saying they didnt want wine tourism. Its foolish to not act on that, its something corporations spend millions on to create associations in peoples minds of their name and good quality.
    We also have a unique potential of bringing people to sustainable farms that grow cannabis and food to educate about how to garden this way and the benefits of utilizing clean cannabis and foods.
    Theres 3 motels at south end garberville that would be amazing to have remodeled and turned into nice spots and a hostel. It would also get rid if the nasty drug element thats taken over those places.
    It makes economic sense to keep our wild places protected and our small towns quirky rather than homogenized like everywhere else. Richardson grove is our gateway to the redwoods, lets leave it alone.
    Tourism may be the key to keeping our now failing economy alive.

    • No tourist wants their car broken into at a local motel. No tourist wants to get hasseled for change when coming in or out of every store. No tourist is going to drive through Eureka, checking out the burnt out, empty buildings, narrowly missing hitting the transients scurrying across Broadway and think “how quaint and quirky!”. No tourist wants to pay gouged prices in this shithole….. so we get ‘weed tourism’. I’m sure that will totally save us and create jobs and fix roads. What a dream…

      • Nancy Harmeyer

        There was a clip, Kym had a site posted for the Hawaii eruption…the clip right after the eruption was a WHOLE documentary on the HUGE HAWAIIAN homeless problem! It is everywhere…Auburn, CA, same thing. We actually aren’t the ONLY place with so many homeless! Only 1/3 of the homeless in Hawaii are of Hawaiian decent…which makes 2/3 white people. Stop acting like we have the only homeless! IT IS everywhere, mostly where it doesn’t freeze during winter!

        • The homeless in Hawaii are either white or natives and no other ethnicity?!?!? The heck you smokin bro ?

    • The Northcoast used to be packed every day, event or no event, during tourist season.
      Now it’s only packed during events.
      The locals survived on seasonal work. Now they survive on welfare.
      Over regulating our local businesses have destroyed the mom & pop resorts, hotels, motels, cafes, gas stations, and bars.
      It’s one thing to alert your patrons and renters of the areas that are not yet up to the new code of the day, so they can make their own choices of where to take their money. It’s a totally different game to force the businesses and patrons to go elsewhere just because a code or a hundred were not yet updated.
      Celebrating a half-a*s tourist industry is so par for the course anymore that the gullible actually believe this is as good as it’s ever been.
      Bring back the good old days of being stuck behind a 20 car lineup, on a daily basis. Bring back the days of patrons waiting in line at the local businesses where the lines stretched for blocks.
      Or, just raise the prices, lower the tourist counts, and call it a heyday for now. That works for some.

    • Sigurd Anderson

      Been to Tahoe?
      Not cheap.
      As is Napa, as is Monterey,as is Napa,as is Healdsburg.

  • MustyDreadBush

    You bet your rear end it was in the billions when it comes to sweet cheeba

  • Ezra Morgan Hill

    Selling shrunken hippies along the road is the future.

    Most tourists launch from staying the night in Mendo, do the drive, get scared and drive away from Eureka, and do the CC thing.

    When they are ripped off in Eureka, friends are told and tourists breeze through the 101.

    They don’t get broken into in Bookings.

    A good line of work is process serving as many growers need foreclosure papers served.

    Watching the government budget cuts will be like a Land Of The Lost episode complete with Sleestacks.

    No turning back, we’re watching history.

    There’s no Bari jihadi out there to save growers, it’s a closed book.

    Learn to work, get a haircut, get a job.

    We’ll all be better from hard times, everyone got too fat and disconnected.


    • Guy mutters, shambling along the Internet.

      Random sentences out of context.

      Thoughts passed quickly by.

  • tourism can only sustain a small percentage of our workforce.
    Lord help us find a way to get everybody a reasonable income and jobs that aren’t subservient to googly faced, wandering visitors

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