Here is a timely column that OC Business Council President and CEO Lucy Dunn penned for timely column last week for Fox and Hounds, on the how tourism is key to the economy of Orange County and the state. Here’s an excerpt:

Orange County’s 42 miles of coastline is home to the best beaches in the world, including Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and “Surf City USA.” OC Parks offers sprawling wilderness and nature parks, perfect for a scenic hike through Crystal Cove State Park or Limestone Canyon Park. And sports fans can cheer on the Angels at Angels Stadium or the Ducks at the Honda Center or Olympic Volleyball in Anaheim.

The county is also home to some of the world’s best art, science and music centers. Segerstrom Center for the Arts is Orange County’s largest non-profit arts organization and includes the renowned Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale.  Discovery Science Center just received the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, recognizing their innovation in state-of-art exhibits and dynamic community outreach programs.

Last year, Disneyland Resort became county’s largest employer, supporting a workforce of 25,000 and an additional 57,400 jobs in the region. This is in no small part due to the resort’s $1.1 billion expansion to Disney’s California Adventure, creating the popular Cars Land. Despite being built during the worst economy in decades, the Cars Land attraction is a game-changer for the region. In 2012, the attraction drew 7.8 million visitors, a 22% increase in visitors from 2011, and is expected to drive at least a 17% increase in income at Disneyland, not to mention the huge economic benefits to surrounding hotels, restaurants and other attractions. 

You can read the entire column here.