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Let’s Bring the World to

California’s tourism economy continued to grow in 2023.

$150.4B
Visitor Spending
1.2M
Jobs
$12.7B
State & Local Tax Revenues
*Statistics reflect the 2023 calendar year. Source: Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.
Chinese Trade FAM in a hot air balloon
Rebuilding the market for Chinese travelers

By Leona Reed
Posted 19 days ago

Visit California is dedicated to re-establishing its presence in the Chinese market, investing $7.7 million overall in FY23/24. Recent activities underscore this commitment, including the U.S.–China Tourism Leadership Summit in Xi’an, ITB China in Shanghai and the first Chinese trade FAM in California since 2019. U.S–China Tourism Leadership Summit highlights Visit California recently attended the 14th U.S.– China Tourism Leadership Summit in Xi’an. This summit marked a significant milestone in bilateral relations, the first since 2019, drawing over 600 attendees — 200 from the U.S. and 400 from China. This turnout exceeded the 2019 summit numbers, highlighting the importance both nations place on revitalizing tourism ties. Julie Coker, Visit California’s Board Vice Chair and President & CEO of San Diego Tourism Authority, represented Visit California at the summit, accompanied by Shawn Dixon, COO of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Brand USA, Destination DC, Disneyland Resorts, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB), Travel Oregon and other DMOs were also present. Highlighting the organization's commitment, Vice Chair Coker signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zuzuche, China's largest car rental company. This agreement aims to make California the preferred U.S. destination for Chinese tourists. Vice Chair Coker also conducted three key media interviews with CGTN, Global Times and Xinhua News Agency, emphasizing Visit California’s initiatives in market and bolstering ties with the Chinese tourism industry. Key discussion points at the summit were the ongoing issues with visa wait times and flight availability. In response, the U.S. announced the opening of a new visa appointment center in Wuhan, a first for the city. Furthermore, the U.S. embassy is working with Chinese authorities to gain clearance and hire more local staff to support visa operations, aiming to alleviate the challenges over the past three years. The expectation from both sides is clear: there will be notable improvements in visa processing and flight availability following the summit. Showcasing California at ITB 2024 Visit California recently attended ITB China 2024 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center from May 27–29. This three-day event attracted over 15,000 attendees from over 80 countries and regions. With five California partners, Visit California conducted over 150 pre-scheduled appointments and had over 200 walk-in appointments. The partners include CG Hotel Group, Disneyland Resorts, LATCB, San Francisco Travel and Visit Greater Palm Springs. Following the Leadership Summit in Xi’an, it was no surprise that the main topics of discussion were the improvement in visa processing times and the reopening of the Wuhan Consulate’s visa office. While this is a step in the right direction, the overall low visa issuance rate and the high cost of travel remain significant barriers. In response, Visit California found that agencies and operators are concentrating on small and customized tours, a growth of demand in high-end luxury trips and for the first-tier cities to spearhead promotion and sale of California to second- and third-tier cities. First trade FAM since 2019 From May 8th to 12th, Visit California hosted nine key Chinese buyers in the first trade FAM from the Chinese market since 2019. Over the five days, the group explored Los Angeles, Greater Palm Springs, Temecula and Anaheim, experiencing the latest and greatest they have to offer. Participants enjoyed diverse experiences, from luxury outings and family fun to outdoor activities and local adventures, inspiring future product development. This FAM is a positive step toward creating and refreshing California only product in market. The road ahead Ensuring California remains top of mind is crucial as projections indicate that spending from the Chinese market will rebound to $2.17 billion in 2024 and fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025. To ensure this happens, Visit California is positioning itself as a top destination to visit in this highly competitive market with its $7.5M total investment for fiscal year 24/25, including $6.1M for a direct-to-consumer campaign. The Tourism Leadership Summit, ITB 2024 and Post-IPW FAM have helped set a positive tone for future travel to California and the opportunities ahead.
Surfers at Steamer Lane, a historic surf spot in Santa Cruz, California on May 9, 2024.
California plays host for post-IPW FAMs

By David Lytle
Posted 16 days ago

California hosted 130 global buyers and media representing 21 countries on seven different FAMs immediately after IPW in Los Angeles. These trips help create California ambassadors who’ve experienced itineraries rich in culture and activities throughout the Golden State. Here’s a roundup of those trips that visited more than 60 destinations. For full image galleries, just click the FAM title. Adventure On Tap Barstow Bishop Greater Palm Springs Joshua Tree June Lake Lee Vining Lone Pine Los Angeles Mammoth Lakes Mono Lake Pioneertown Twentynine Palms    Bay Area Or Bust Capitola Corralitos Felton Half Moon Bay Pescadero San Francisco San Mateo Santa Cruz    Central Coasting Arroyo Grande Buellton Burbank Camarillo Morro Bay Oceano Dunes Oxnard Paso Robles Pismo Beach San Luis Obispo Santa Barbara Santa Monica Ventura County   China Trade Anaheim Joshua Tree National Park Los Angeles Palm Springs Temecula   SoCal Spectacular Anaheim Huntington Beach La Jolla Laguna Beach Oceanside Pacific Beach San Diego Torrey Pines   Strike Gold Bass Lake Coloma Columbia El Dorado County Groveland Hetch Hetchy Valley Mariposa Murphys North Fork Oakhurst Placerville Sonora Tuolumne County Yosemite National Park   Valleys & Vines to Bridges & Pines Auburn Fairfield Placerville Sacramento South Lake Tahoe Yolo County  
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