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Let’s Bring the World to

California’s tourism economy continued to grow in 2023.

Visitor Spending
State & Local Tax Revenues
*Statistics reflect the 2023 calendar year. Source: Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.
IPW 2024 in Los Angeles
California takes center stage at IPW 2024 in Los Angeles

By Leona Reed
Posted 20 days ago

The Golden State became the epicenter of the largest international trade show on U.S. soil, U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, in Los Angeles. This drew attendees from over 70 countries and provided a global platform for Visit California to shine a light on the state's unique offerings to an influential B2B audience. The significance of hosting such a large event is reflected in its potential to significantly boost future travel spending, estimated at a staggering $5.5 billion. In partnership with the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB), the Golden State welcomed 5,700 attendees, which included 2,000 global buyers and media, by far the largest travel trade and media audience to date. Additionally, 30% were first-time IPW attendees, giving the tourism industry a great opportunity to introduce the California brand. As the host state, Visit California was committed to highlighting what sets California apart from its domestic competition, both on the trade show floor and beyond. Visit California, along with 43 industry partners and 130 California-based brands, built a 55,000-square-foot immersive brand experience called the California Plaza in the central area outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. This incredible space engaged IPW attendees on their way to and from the tradeshow, allowing people to maximize networking time and invite people to enjoy the California lifestyle. The multi-day activation delivered an over-the-top visual extravaganza that called to passersby with branded destination engagement areas and a series of activations. Complimentary food and beverages were offered during peak traffic periods to keep attendees energized. Since entertainment is California’s forte, the plaza deployed star power as well with appearances by celebrity chefs Curtis Stone, Dominique Crenn, Duff Goldman, Stephanie Boswell, Shirley Chung and Chris Barnum-Dann. NBA Hall of Famer Vlade Divac and Olympic gold medalist Jonny Mosley repped Team California’s athletic prowess. Before the tradeshow began, California delegates attended the California Caucus, where Visit California executives, in-market directors and representatives from U.S. Travel and the LATCB offered insights information about the global marketing program and offer insights into how best to use available time on the trade show floor and at the California Plaza. The caucus concluded with an exclusive preview of the plaza. On the tradeshow floor, new Ultimate Playground branding lived throughout the convention center, including the new tech-forward bear-shaped trade show booth that will be in heavy use over the next three years. Branding also appeared on carpets, on signage and in a state-of-the-art 3D billboard wrapped around the Moxy hotel directly across the street from the convention center. Earned media opportunities included a Visit California sponsorship of the press room and an online press center take-over. Additionally, Visit California president and CEO Caroline Beteta gave addresses to all 650 media members at a press brunch and to the entire 5,700 attendees alongside LATCB president and CEO Adam Burke during the Sunday lunch programming. Visit California delegates held 420 appointments with travel trade and media and held a VIP reception for media at the California Plaza. After the tradeshow concluded, Visit California hosted seven familiarization trips visiting all regions and stopping at 60 cities, including the first FAM for Chinese trade since 2019, an important step in helping the state reach a full recovery by welcoming Chinese travelers back to the Golden State. Click through to view a large gallery of images from IPW 2024 in Los Angeles.
Man with surfboard walking on beach edge, ocean horizon in background.
Join the California tourism industry in celebrating California Tourism Month

By Caroline Beteta
Posted 22 days ago

As the world’s travel industry gathered in Los Angeles for IPW, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California visitor spending soared to an unprecedented $150.4 billion in 2023, surpassing the pre-pandemic 2019 record. The governor celebrated our industry to kick off California Tourism Month, the state’s official observance of tourism’s essential role in the state’s economy. Our industry’s remarkable recovery was accompanied by the creation of an additional 64,900 jobs in 2023, bringing the total number of California hospitality workers to 1.15 million. Moreover, the tax revenue generated by visitors reached $12.7 billion, funding vital local services for all Californians. Our Travel Matters website has been updated with the latest numbers to demonstrate travel and tourism's economic impact on the state. The site reaches decision-makers at state and local levels to highlight how travel is critical for California. And the good news continues. Travel spending exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 34 of the state’s 58 counties. Destinations that aren’t quite at full recovery are only a few percentage points away from reaching 2019 spending levels. California was the host state for IPW, the largest international travel trade show on U.S. soil. Visit California and 43 partners pulled out all the stops with the California Plaza activation outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. It was an experiential display of the state’s abundant offerings that put The Ultimate Playground front and center for the more than 5,700 trade show attendees. Hosting IPW is expected to generate $5.5 billion in future travel spending.  As part of California Tourism Month, we encourage residents to travel in-state in May to discover how they can play throughout the state. As partners, you, too, can promote travel to California. With the governor’s announcement today, I encourage you to share the news with your communities: California travel spending is back! Here's how: Adapt the official toolkit to spread the word online and with the media. Participate yourself by traveling, shopping, and dining locally. Your tourism dollars play a crucial role in helping businesses. Share your experiences on social media using the #CATourism tag to contribute to promoting California's tourism industry. From May 19-25, join U.S. Travel’s National Travel and Tourism Week with an additional #NTTW24 tag. Contact your local representatives to let them know how critical the tourism industry is to California’s economy. Cite the above numbers to reinforce how vital tourism spending is, especially when it creates jobs, increases tax revenues and supports local businesses. Together, as a unified California tourism industry, we will continue to amplify the benefits of travel to the Golden State.

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