Marin tourism industry improves

02/28/2013

Marin hotels saw more customers and increased revenue for the second consecutive year in 2012, suggesting that rising gas prices and a faltering economic recovery are having a muted impact on the county’s linchpin tourism industry. Hotel and motel occupancy grew to 73.1 percent in 2012, from 68.7 percent in 2011, which, after the East San Francisco Bay area, had the second highest increase among Northern California regions tracked by a hospitality consulting firm. The findings are borne out by anecdotes from West Marin hoteliers. Sandy Gray, the sole proprietor of upscale vacation rental service West Marin Network, said last year’s business was good. “It didn’t seem the recession was affecting people who were coming out,” she said. Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mark Essman said West Marin had a banner year, due in part to spillover from increased vacationing in San Francisco, a trend expected to continue this year. The numbers provided further evidence of a rebound from the depths of the recession in 2010. Leisure and hospitality enterprises employ nearly one in 10 people in the county’s civilian workforce and report $89.3 million in sales.