Lew's Views: By Lew Avera
Lew’s Views:
By Lew Avera

By Lew Avera

Last month, I wrote about our powerful population in Orange County, with Orange and San Diego counties being the fifth and sixth largest counties in the U.S. in population. Our population is 3.2 million with 34 incorporated cities. San Clemente is one of the 34 and is a median city with a population of 65,000. Also, Orange County is one of the smallest counties geographically in the state. I did not cover any of the factors which drive these phenomenal numbers. There are, however, many tourists and other visitors that contribute to these statistics. Others are commercial/businesses and residential lifestyle.

Central to any of this thinking is how it relates to and affects our wonderful lifestyle in San Clemente.

I have done significant research on many of these factors. According to Visit California, in 2016, Orange County had 4.4 million international tourists along with some 4.8 million from the U.S. for a total of some-8.2 million. The report also states that international tourists spend more money than domestic tourists; they stay longer and spend a significant amount of time shopping at our major shopping centers. In fact, several of our major shopping centers are designed specifically to meet these needs and attract foreign visitors. Tourists from abroad are reported to have spent $12.1 billion, up 6.8 percent from 2015. Still, another related statistic from the Orange County Business Journal says traffic at John Wayne Airport was 10.5 million passengers in 2016, many of whom were visitors.

In a survey from the OCBJ, the 50 largest hotels in the county have a total of 21,841 rooms. This does not include a myriad of smaller hotels and rooming arrangements. At a rate of $150 a night, which is minor for major hotels, this could result in $3,276,150 per night when fully occupied.

The OCBJ indicates there are 164,000 jobs in Orange County related to the tourist industry. In addition, there are 14 new hotels and 2,188 new rooms under construction and due to be opened in 2018. These factors reflect a distinctive orientation toward “conventions” and “convention centers” in the county. Although hotels may become such centers, they are not the main convention centers but rather support such centers as the Anaheim Convention Center.

There is so much more to be said about how our population drives and relates to such a vibrant, successful and influential Orange County. I plan to continue this analysis in the future. However, it is interesting to think about how we in San Clemente view these factors and how they relate to our well-being and ways of life. In spite of much growth over recent years, we remain a wonderful “Village by the Sea.” We have very few hotel rooms in San Clemente, but the visitors here certainly contribute in many ways, many indirectly, to our wonderful and pleasant lives.

Lew Avera is a retired career officer, Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps. He has been a director of the Talega HOA since 2003 and served on the San Clemente Planning Commission from 2005 to 2013.

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comments (2)

  • Tourism is dropping not increasing. Disneyland reported a 2 percent dropped. Tourism in Orange County now is about 8 percent lower than 2015. In fact, Orange County had the largest dropped in tourism compared to even Los Angeles and San Diego. Ca has reported drops in 2016 not increases like your report here because the minimum wage increases have chase off tourist as hotels and restaurants are becoming more pricey with the higher minimum wage OC restaurant could laid off 20,000 workers when minimum hits 12 an hour.

  • all true
    and may i say to promote a tourism business plan councils go as far as persecuting their own citizens just because of their exclusive – subsidized and perceived business plan and snobbery ,,and ability to use the paramilitary force of the ocsd to enforce said business plan

    once upon a time
    there was a community of monkeys that spent their days swinging in trees and throwing poop at each other ,,, then one day a smart monkey invented a ladder and the moneys came down out of the trees and began to walk upright ,,, the smart monkeys tails melted away ,multi story homes, schools and churches were built
    the smart monkeys harnessed fire ,electricity and laws , but it was to good to last , some of the monkeys became sad for the old days of trees and poop throwing and some became dishonest and snobby
    the bad and sad snobby monkeys passed laws that outlawed the ladder pining for the good old days of swinging in trees and poop toughing their names are donchex eggleston and Dahl , these are bad and dishonest monkeys because they still had ladders on their monkey (clown) cars but outlawed ladders on the upright Man’s pickup truck
    I ask council to change this commercial vehicle monkey law so the smart monkeys i.e. man can continue to build churches and schools and remain poop free
    thank you CAPT.GEORGE GREGORY the silver back

    Lew i don’t know how many veterans will drive pickup trucks or have ladders but i bet that number is significant

    this fourth of July lets remember not the corporate or small business man but the micro blue collar business man and woman who need the freedom that the USA provides to thrive and provide needed service to corporate and small business man

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