Generally, local elections are best left exactly there, with locals. But occasionally decisions made at a local level have an impact on our entire valley. Our neighbors in Palm Springs are currently facing one of those decisions.
It is with that in mind that the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce is encouraging a no vote on Measure C, appearing on the June 5th Palm Springs ballot. Measure C, if enacted, would prohibit legal short-term rentals of single family residences in the City of Palm Springs. Palm Springs is a beautiful jewel in our valley, and it has enhanced the image of our Valley across the world for the last decade. Its name is on our regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. They own and operate the regional airport, which also bares its name. The Palm Springs brand has become an international beacon for our entire valley.
Our regional convention and visitors bureau, with significant help from the City of Palm Springs and our other valley cities and business partners, have built our valley’s tourism industry into a thriving economic engine. According to their recent study, visitor spending in Greater Palm Springs has increased by 10 percent in the last two years, to $5.5 billion, and one in every four jobs is sustained by the tourism industry. Overnight visitors account for 62% of that spending.
A quick search of available rentals in the “Palm Springs Area” on AirBnB currently turns up more than 2,000 listings, many of those located in the City of Palm Springs. Complementing our strong inventory of hotel and resort beds, vacation rentals have helped grow and sustain a regional economy that is supplying jobs to every corner of our valley. The bed inventory short term rentals provide helps the Music Festivals welcome more than 300,000 attendees to our valley annually, brings more families to the valley by offering the conveniences of home while on vacation, and supplements the income of our valley residents by allowing them to rent their homes for a few weeks a year during high demand.
Would enacting Measure C cause the valley’s tourism industry to crash? Probably not, but it would represent a dangerous step backwards. While the Measure itself would remove a considerable amount of bed inventory from our supply chain, the bigger concern is where does the next Measure C turn up? What happens if other cities enact their own Measure C? The results of that could do significant harm to our valley economy and put our local citizens, many with families that rely on tourism related jobs to survive, at risk.
When it comes to our tourism industry, Palm Springs has always proudly lead the way for our entire valley. On behalf of all the small business owners and families from across our valley that have benefited from it, we are asking you to once again lead for all of us. We encourage the residents of Palm Springs to vote “No” on Measure C.
Community Development Officer
Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce