SAN RAFAEL -- The Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB) was formed in its current organizational structure in 2004.  The MCVB is a self-assessed Business Improvement District funded by the Marin County lodging properties.  The San Rafael-based MCVB works to promote and market Marin County to potential visitors, with a focus on overnight stays.

Mark Essman is the bureau's president and CEO.

Q. What are the latest figures on the size and impact of tourism on Marin County?

A. In 2010- total direct travel spending in California was $95.1 billion and accounted for 837,00 jobs and $6.1 Billion in direct state and local tax revenues

In 2009-2010 in Marin County, spending totaled $634 million and supported 6,700 jobs and $41 million in direct state and local tax revenues. 

Marin County saw a 4.5 percent increase in lodging occupancy in 2010.  Room rates rose approximately 3 percent and approximately 12.5 million people visited Marin County in 2010.                    

 Q. What efforts are under way through your organization or through the Marin Economic Forum to develop tourism in Marin?

 A. I am on the MEF Board, and we are working with West Marin and others to better consolidate and organize the resources in Marin County, such as agri/eco/enviro-tourism.  In addition, we are a sponsor of the Sonoma/Marin Cheese Trail Map, an effort by Vivien Strauss to organize and promote the artisan cheese makers in Marin County.

Q. Specific to America’s Cup, what’s being planned now?

A. The MCVB is working with other Marin organizations such as the local Chambers of Commerce to promote Marin County to visitors before and during the event.  Activities of various levels to market and promote the area will begin this spring and intensify all the way up to the actual event in September of 2013.  The MCVB has a dedicated web page for this event that is currently being populated with resource and promotional information. The MCVB has also contracted with one of it’s board members as a MCVB consultant to represent MCVB and Marin County at all America’s Cup-related events over the next 18 months. MCVB also has in place a target-market ad campaign designed to focus on potential visitors to the event by advertising in non-traditional venues.

 Q. Again specific to America’s Cup, what benefits could accrue to Marin?

 A. Initial projections of potential revenue over the next 12 months, beginning later this summer through the end of the event in October 2013, ranged from $1 billion to $1.5+ billion for San Francisco and the surrounding area.  If Marin could capture 1 to 3 percent of that number, it would have a positive economic impact.  It will have a large impact, no matter what, but with advanced promotion and activities, Marin can elevate its chances of increasing the potential revenue to the area.


Q. Is there something you would like to add?

A. 2012/2013 will be a busy time for Bay Area events.  Along with the normal well-know ongoing activities and events in the area, the U.S. Open is in SF in June and the Official 75th Anniversary Celebration of the GG Bridge begins that weekend and events will run almost every weekend after throughout the entire summer/early fall to celebrate the 75th anniversary, and America’s Cup activities will begin later this spring/summer and ending with the official race in Sept-Oct of 2013.