Hotel bookings are up and other Santa Barbara businesses see a boost too
Restaurants, tour shuttles, and shops are bustling this summer
A rise in the income coming from the hotel bed tax is indicating a rebound in the economy.
The City of Santa Barbara say the July figures show an increase of 12.5 percent in the Transient Occupancy Tax. That's higher than the projection, and continues a recent string of positive economic news from the hotel industry.
Other businesses are also reaping the benefits.
Warren Butler with the Greater Santa Barbara Lodging and Restaurant Association is also the General Manager of the Marmalade Cafe. He has seen a boost in business at his restaurant at the La Cumbre Plaza when hotels are full both at the waterfront and along upper State St.
"It's great for the city. It's great for the hotels and restaurants," said Butler. "More importantly it benefits the employees, it benefits the families of the employees."
One server, Susie Gipson says the boost in business gives her plenty of hours to work. Besides local guests she sees, "lots of people from overseas."
Butler says his servers also provide tourist information and suggestions for other places his guests can visit.
"Not only are you representing your restaurant and the hospitality industry, you are representing Santa Barbara. People come here from all over the world," said Butler. "What you want people to do is when they leave say 'Santa Barbara is the greatest place to visit.'"
Along the Santa Barbara waterfront a tourist from Italy, Stephanie Cattelan said she could only stay one day but after a visit to Los Angeles she would like to come back and book more nights in Santa Barbara.
A couple from France said they came to visit because they saw the Santa Barbara Soap Opera on television back at home.
Even though many schools are going back into session soon, those in the tourism business say they still expect European travelers and a few cruise ship stops to keep them busy.
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