Tourism Assessment Program
The California Tourism Marketing Act was enacted in 1995, to increase California’s share of the travel and tourism market (Government Code sections 13995 et. seq.). The legislation authorized self-imposition of an assessment by businesses that benefit from travel and tourism. It also authorized the establishment of a non-profit, public benefit corporation, Visit California, to oversee the promotion of California as a premier travel destination. The statute became operative upon industry wide approval in 1997 and the assessment program was initiated in 1998. In 2001, the program was renewed by industry referendum with an 84 percent margin, while in 2007 it was renewed by a 91 percent margin. In 2013, the referendum was approved by a 93 percent margin. The Act will subsequently be renewable by industry vote every six years.
Visit California is comprised of 37 Commission members, representing each industry segment (Accommodations, Restaurants and Retail, Attractions and Recreation, Transportation and Travel Services, and Passenger Car Rental). The Commission meets three times a year and directs and approves the marketing plan, expenditures and the overall strategic course for California Tourism. Visit California staff oversees the production of the marketing activities, including advertising, visitor publications and cooperative programs – all designed to promote California to travelers, tourists and the travel trade.
The assessment program is administered by the Office of Tourism, Tourism Assessment Program. The Office of Tourism is housed in the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development and the Director serves as Chairperson of Visit California.
Passenger Car Rental Industry Tourism Assessment Program
A new tourism assessment program for the Passenger Car Rental Industry was enacted in 2006 and became effective January 1, 2007. (Government Code sections 13995 et. seq.) The Passenger Car Rental Industry assessment program is limited to companies that have business locations renting passenger vehicles at either airports or accommodation locations, such as hotels. The Passenger Car Rental Industry shall have an industry-specific assessment rate, adjusted annually.
2013 California Tourism Marketing Renewal and Results
Since its inception more than a decade ago, Visit California has become one of the nation’s premier state marketing agencies – promoting the California brand and helping to increase tourism and travel-related spending. As an industry-led public/private partnership, Visit California is leading successful marketing campaigns that are having a profound effect. Over the last three years, California has moved from 28th to 2nd among state tourism marketing budgets. In 2006, Visit California met its 2010 domestic market share goals an astonishingly five years early. This level of success can only continue with industry support.
In March 2013, assessed businesses voted to approve the California Tourism Assessment Program. As a result, the California Tourism Assessment Program shall continue to operate for the purpose of promoting California as a travel and tourism destination for an additional six years, pursuant to referendum results. Currently, $300 million is allocated for the next six years for tourism marketing. This dramatic increase in resources will allow Visit California to greatly expand the depth and scope of its marketing programs.