Travel Hub

Home  /  Why Merced?  /  Travel Hub

SNAPSHOT:

Untapped opportunities built around:

  • Yosemite gateway

  • Long-distance travelers on Hwy 99

  • UC Merced growth

  • High speed rail connection coming

placeholder image

Business Opportunities

Merced lies at the crossroads between the Pacific Coast, the foothills, Sacramento, and Fresno. The city has always been a gateway to Yosemite National Park, and high speed rail could soon make it a transfer point for Bay Area residents visiting the park. As a travel hub, Merced presents several largely untapped markets for imaginative entrepreneurs.

For example:
  • Outdoor gear and provisions for camping and hiking.

  • Outdoor experiences or training/conditioning related to Yosemite visits.

  • Environmental education associated with Yosemite.

  • Visitor services for UC Merced family visits and events. University expansion could create demand for visitor services beyond lodging.

 

California Welcome Center

Merced hosts one of five California Welcome Centers in Central California. These state-sponsored visitor centers offer travel concierge services, including free maps and brochures. Located at 710 W 16th St, the Welcome Center shares space with YARTS, the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System bus service to Yosemite.

 

Gateway to Yosemite

Highway 140 out of Merced leads to Yosemite’s Arch Rock entrance — the oldest entrance to the park, and one of only five gateways. Significantly, this entrance is the fastest route from San Francisco and San Jose (Silicon Valley). Yosemite draws up to 5 million visitors per year, with over 1 million recreation visitors entering through Arch Rock.

 

UC Merced Influence

UC Merced is experiencing rapid expansion, and with that comes an increase in family visits, particularly at registration and graduation. As a research institution, conferences and events will draw more visitors to the area. Farther out, Merced is poised to become a healthcare hub in the San Joaquin Valley when UC Merced adds a school of medicine. That, too, will draw visitors.

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

2017 Q1 (PDF)

Quarterly Economic Snapshots were developed independently; figures may differ slightly from website due to variation in sources and time periods.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS
Travel and Visitor Facts & Figures
Traffic Counts
in City of Merced

Peak Month (2016)

Hwy 99 at Jct Hwy 140 East

(Yosemite)

44,000 / 42,500

Hwy 99 at Jct. Hwy 140 West

(to Interstate 5)

51,000 / 57,700

Hwy 99 at G St

(UC Merced)

51,000 / 52,000

Hwy 140 at Motel Dr & Glen

19,100 / 12,200

Yosemite Visitors
(2016)

Recreation:

5,028,868

Non-Recreation:

188,246

Concession Lodging:

743,546

Tent Campers:

490,431

RV Campers:

376,744

Backcountry Campers:

216,989

Misc Campers:

51,542

Total Overnight Stays:

1,879,252

Visitor Spending
Merced County
(2016)

Food Service:

$53.4M

Accommodations:

$29.0M

Retail Sales:

$33.1M

Local Tran. & Gas:

$31.8M

Arts, Ent. &Rec.:

$24.5M

Food Stores:

$11.7M

Traffic Counts are Annual Average Daily Traffic; south or west direction (back) / north or east direction (ahead)

Full sources at bottom of page.

SOURCES USED ON THIS PAGE:
  1. Yosemite Visitation by year, 2016 (https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/Park%20Specific%20Reports/Annual%20Park%20Recreation%20Visitation%20(1904%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year)?Park=YOSE) (Dec 2017).

  2. Type of Yosemite Visitor, 2016 (https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/SSRSReports/Park%20Specific%20Reports/Summary%20of%20Visitor%20Use%20By%20Month%20and%20Year%20(1979%20-%20Last%20Calendar%20Year)?Park=YOSE) (Dec. 2017).

  3. Dean Runyan Associates, California Travel Impacts by County, 1992-2016p, May 2017 (https://industry.visitcalifornia.com/Research/ResearchTrends?tags=County) (Dec 2017).

VISIT

City of Merced

Office of Economic Development

678 W 18th St. Merced, CA 95340

City Site: www.cityofmerced.org

CALL

800-723-4788 Toll Free

209-385-6827 Phone

209-723-1780 Fax

CONTACT

Frank Quintero

Director of Economic Development

quinterof@cityofmerced.org

© 2017 BY CITY OF MERCED. CREATED WITH WIX.COM