Tourism is the cornerstone of the Greater Palm Springs economy, generating $6.4 billion annually and supporting more than 50,000 jobs, according to Tourism Economics, the firm hired by the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau to study this impact.
Propelled by major media events such as the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, visitation has soared to record-breaking heights. Yet Scott White, the CVB’s president and CEO, asserts the long-term success of the destination requires economic development in lock step.
“As we target companies and organizations to bring their meetings here, we’re looking at how we help businesses relocate to the destination,” he says, emphasizing tourism drives the process. “Most residents take three or four trips to the destination to learn about it, to explore it, to kind of touch it and feel it, and get comfortable with it before they make that decision.”
Meanwhile, White’s organization is shoring up the back end, negotiating with airlines to expand service (JetBlue’s direct flight from New York’s JFK International is the most recent addition) and advocating for the expansion of CSU San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus to increase educational attainment in the local workforce.
“We’re aligning the resources we need to attract companies that want our incredible California lifestyle without the burdens of traffic and high real estate prices,” he says. “We have a lot to offer. Our quality of life here is incredible. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”
VIDEO: Watch the interview with Scott White.