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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.
Highway 1 Sign
Supporting Highway 1 with a responsible travel message for summer road trips

By Kristen Bonilla
Posted 20 days ago

Highway 1 at the Rocky Creek slip-out in Monterey County north of Big Sur reopened to traffic in both directions on Friday, May 17, after being closed since Easter weekend. This exciting news means that visitors from around the world can once again experience the breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes that make Big Sur a world-renowned destination — just in time for summer road trip season. As the road reopened, Visit California’s earned media team used its global reach, network of instate influencers, and media and broadcast connections to help spread the word. A statement from Visit California was prepared and shared with its network of 13 international markets to help celebrate that Big Sur is once again accessible to tourists in time for summer road trips. The offices also began including Big Sur in all relevant pitching for summer travel. In May, Visit California’s public relations team traveled with Big Sur River Lodge, San Francisco Travel and See Monterey to New York City for Dotdash Meredith’s Media Day event. This invitation-only event allowed the team to meet with the publisher’s top editors to promote the reopening. Additionally, the PR Team worked with its network of in-state influencers to share the message that Big Sur is accessible from the north for summer travel. In total, seven influencers posted Instagram content promoting this iconic road trip, as well as responsible travel messaging — encouraging their followers to check road conditions and be respectful, patient and kind to all involved in their travels. Some of this content is also being shared across Visit California’s social channels. To date this influencer content has garnered more than 268,500 views. Visit California also leveraged a broadcast satellite media tour (SMT) with media personality Gabe Saglie, hitting important in-state and out-of-state markets like Seattle, Portland and Phoenix, to celebrate the ultimate summer road trip in California and along the Central Coast. In total, the SMT reached more than 500,000 viewers across seven markets and garnered an additional 216 million potential impressions from online placements.   Nationally, a road trip segment aired on NBC’s "TODAY Show" on Tuesday, July 2, to an audience of more than 1.5 million viewers. The segment featured Highway 1, highlighting Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, further cementing this iconic stretch of coast as one of the top road trips in the world. The California content begins at the four minute mark.
Gold Pass program boosts Golden State media coverage

By Molly Bloss
Posted 22 days ago

The Gold Pass program helps destination and tourism business partners collaborate to bring key domestic and international media guests to the state, creating higher impact media coverage. Three partners working together can submit a Gold Pass for a journalist they want to host jointly, and Visit California will cover the airfare and ground transportation costs. In-person visits inspire stronger media coverage, especially for out-of-state and international journalists less familiar with the diverse destinations and experiences throughout California. Visit California awarded 14 Gold Pass trips in FY 2023/24, encompassing 11 regions and 35 unique destinations. The trips included media and influencers based in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. from outlets such as Daily Herald, Escape, Essence, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic en Español, Seattle Magazine and Voyage Voyage. There are a limited number of Gold Passes awarded each year, but the application process is straightforward. In addition to identifying a compelling media guest to host, the three applicants are asked to provide details about the anticipated route, story angle and coverage. Note that the program does extend to in-state media who do not require airfare for a press trip. Visit California may cover meal stipends and ground transportation in those cases instead. The program also extends to influencer trips, but any partnership fees are the responsibility of the hosting destinations or businesses. play   For additional information and application requirements, visit the Gold Pass program page.

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