Let’s Bring the World to

Coronavirus pandemic ravaged California's travel economy in 2020.

Visitor Spending
State & Local Tax Revenues
*Statistics reflect the 2020 calendar year. Source: Dean Runyan Associates, Inc.
Monterey County Road Trip
Leading Travel & Lifestyle Editors Experience Golden State Road Trips

By Kristen Bonilla

Visit California and destination partners situated along scenic California road trips hosted a virtual media event on April 14 with editors and writers from magazine publisher Meredith Corp. most popular travel and lifestyle publications.

Destinations pitched California as the ultimate road trip destination to a whopping 75 Meredith decision-makers from popular travel and lifestyle publications, which included Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Health, Martha Stewart Living, Parents, People, People en Espanol, Better Homes & Gardens, Midwest Living, Allrecipes.com. The virtual format enabled Visit California and destination partners to engage with media from Meredith offices in NYC, Birmingham and Des Moines.

Eureka Old Town
Eureka Old Town

For media and talking points about each pitched road trip, visit the event landing page.

Pitching the California Road Trip Republic
The event began with a statewide update from Ryan Becker, Vice President of Communications at Visit California. He shared the news of Highway 1’s early reopening in April, Visit California’s new 2021-2022 “California Road Trips” guide featuring Kevin Costner, and Visit California’s national “Road Trip Republic” and “What If” campaigns running during the peak spring-summer season.

California destination partners representing three Golden State road trips then presented and showcased what puts their destination — and state region — on the map. Presentations included virtual content complemented by California treats shipped to each media attendee prior to the event.

Classic Highway 1
The event kicked off with the Classic Highway 1 road trip, which reinforced that this hugely popular itinerary is once again open to travelers. The trip began in San Francisco and headed down to SLO CAL, via Monterey County and Paso Robles. Partners shared the wide array of experiences and beautiful scenery along the iconic route. To go along with this road trip, the media received wine from J. Lohr in Paso Robles, made with Monterey County-grown grapes, and a tin of California poppies.
Highway to Harvest
Media experienced a virtual taste of California along the Highway to Harvest road trip, which took attendees on a journey up the middle of the state with partners from Bakersfield, Visalia, Stockton and Sacramento. This road trip highlighted multi-generational farms, outdoor and culture offerings, and innovative farm-to-table restaurants. Media were gifted pistachios and almond butter from Naturally Nuts in Visalia and olive oil from Calivirgin in San Joaquin County as a part of this culinary excursion through the agricultural heartland of California.

Woolworth's Lunch Counter in Bakersfield
Woolworth's lunch counter in Bakersfield

Northern California
The event concluded with an adventure through Northern California showcasing agritourism and the area’s amazing scenic wonders. 

Mossbrae Hotel One Sheet

The trip began by exploring the vast Shasta Cascade region, with stops in Butte, Tehama and Siskiyou Counties, as well as Redding, before heading out to Humboldt County along the North Coast. Partners from this trip gifted the media lavender products from 29 Rows Lavender Farm in Shasta County and two inclusion bars from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in Eureka.

Header image courtesy of Visit Monterey

What If California Closing Shot
California Tourism Receives $24M Spring Marketing Push

By Leona Reed

Consumers are ready to dream of better days ahead. To capitalize on growing consumer confidence and pent-up demand, Visit California is investing nearly $24 million in brand advertising this spring to drive demand in anticipation of the busy summer travel season.

The robust spend and layered campaign messaging will reach 87% of the in-state California target audience with a frequency of 9.1 times.

Visit California Spring Marketing Campaigns 2021 

‘Calling All Californians’ 

Man and woman on a hike

The first layer of advertising deployment targets in-state consumers by appealing to civic pride with a call for Californians to rediscover their home state. The campaign will be distributed through TV, radio, digital, partnerships with online travel agencies and out-of-home billboards on freeways in Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco. 

Video spots emphasize the playful side of Californians helping their state by safely enjoying themselves at the pool, beach and wine tasting.

Man sleeping by the pool   Family at the beach   Couple at a winery

Billboards along the freeway encourage Californians to explore their own state on their next trip.

Calling All Californians billboards 

‘What If, California’ 


What If, California logo

The inspirational “What If, California” campaign builds on in-state marketing efforts to promote the power of possibility to a national audience through digital, online TV and linear TV layers to boost California’s economic recovery. The six-, 15- and 30-second spots highlight California’s outdoor, cultural, family and luxury activities in 10 rural and urban destinations.

Though Visit California filmed the primary 30-second commercial when travel was highly restricted, the use of leading-edge green screen technology enabled the inclusion of 10 wide-ranging California destinations: Antelope Valley, Burney Falls, Death Valley, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, Mono Lake, Mt. Shasta, Napa, San Francisco and San Diego.

Download the “What If, California” industry toolkit to incorporate the campaign into your marketing with free social and media assets.

What If, California

‘California Road Trip Republic’ 

California Roadtrip Republic

The relaunch of this campaign positions California as the ultimate road trip destination, while reinforcing urban core experiences through highly engaging digital and video placements. Unused creative assets will be leveraged from the original campaign across linear and online TV, digital, social channels including the inspirational “Born To Be Wild” TV spot. 

Born To Be Wild Road Trip Republic Ad

Industry Partnership

Industry partners can co-brand the “What If, California” campaign or simply take advantage of discounted media rates through the Spring Leveraged Media Co-Op. The program improves on the successful fall media co-op with increased partner funding and more flexible buy-in options. 

For more information about the co-op, view the recent Outlook Forum Plus Spring Co-ops webinar, which features program details and advice from Visit California’s media partners. To sign up or ask questions, visit the Spring Co-ops partner opportunity page.


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“With a truly global marketing program that is constantly in motion, Visit California never stops spreading the California Dream around the world.”
James Bermingham | EVP of Operations
Montage International
Industry Team

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