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Professional cycling teams at the 12th annual Amgen Tour of California.
Visit California Makes Big Plans for IPW 2019

By Leona Reed

With less than six months until U.S. Travel’s IPW returns to California for the 10th time, Visit California is in full gear and could not be more excited.

As always, this platform is a critical touchpoint for California’s tourism industry to connect with international buyers and media from more than 70 countries around the world. With approximately 1,500 buyers and 120,000 appointments in three days, the impact of IPW is incredible. Statistics show that IPW generates $4 billion worth of travel for the host state in the 3-5 years following the event.

Furthermore, in the face of adversity and recent crises, amplified through global press, this IPW is particularly important for California and the Nation as a whole.

To ensure we have the right audience at the table, we have collaborated with U.S. Travel and our in-market teams to expand the reach of recruitment efforts for the show.

Visit California has 4 strategic messages for our international partners that will resonate across the country next year.

  •       We welcome ALL international guests.
  •       The USA is a safe destination.
  •       We are well and truly open for business.
  •       There are a lot of new experiences to be discovered in California.

Visit California will support numerous activities around IPW with an investment of almost $2 million and an overarching objective to create an impact that every California industry partner can leverage.

The highlight of our presence will be the California Grand Plaza – a 4-day takeover of the convention center’s major walkway, showcasing the Golden State through experiences, visuals, sound and more.  This central plaza connects the host hotels to the convention center entrance, allowing California to “wow” a captive audience during peak traffic periods throughout the show.

Another key element Visit California has the opportunity to own is the annual IPW post-FAM program. In partnership with the industry around the state, we will roll out the red carpet for international trade and media partners from around the world, hosting up to 300 buyers on 10 individual once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will span the entire state.  With this mix of 3 and 4-night itineraries, we are intending to inspire new itinerary development, spark story ideas and build buzz for the rich diversity of brag-worthy travel moments awaiting our global visitors. 

To that end, we’re utilizing California’s unprecedented network of talent so that each itinerary will be highlighted by a celebrity cameo appearance.  Visit California’s global network of agencies have already begun to spread the word across the world to ensure that we have the top buyers and travel influencers eager to register not only for IPW, but the post-FAMs as well.  These connections provide confidence that California’s post-FAMs will set a new record and generate buzz for years to come.

Additionally, Visit California will support our partners at Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm to create memorable opening and closing events.  And lastly, Visit California will be co-sponsoring Chairman’s Circle Honors with Travel Oregon.  This is an incredible opportunity to shine a light on the Golden State and we know that many of you hope to treat this IPW as your own. 

For additional information around industry opportunities surrounding IPW, please visit our industry website.



Winter Attractions in Sunny DMOs
Sunny Destinations are Fully Stocked with Collaborative Holiday Merriment This Winter

By Laurie Haynes

Each year, the holiday season in California brings promises of enchantment, discovery, time well spent with family and friends and unforgettable food. While some holiday destinations are iconic for their snowy winter backdrops and icy ski slopes, warmer destinations in the Golden State are also known to pack a full supply of holiday delight through extraordinary winter activations.

Balboa Park December Nights in San Diego has become a citywide cultural holiday tradition and will celebrate its 41st year in 2018. Coordinated by the City of San Diego, the energized winter wonderland transforms the iconic Balboa Park into a hub of holiday music, lights, live performances, retail and international food experiences. Held annually on the first Friday and Saturday of December, it has become San Diego’s largest free festival with more than 350,000 attendees.

“December Nights definitely represents San Diego’s culture. From food to entertainment, the entire region is represented,” said Carolyn Wormser, Director of Special Events for the City of San Diego. “The lights and sounds of the event against the historical backdrop brings so much joy to all the guests. It is truly a unique experience.”

In maintaining the Golden State’s vigorous spirit of collaboration the city works with a multitude of partners, including San Diego Tourism Authority, to breathe life into December Nights and promote the festival each year. The International Cottages Christmas Festival is comprised of multi-cultural “houses” where visitors can relish in holiday flavors and bites from around the globe, including egg rolls, fried plantains, hot cider, crepes, samosas, tamales, baklava, lumpia and much more.

In the Bay Area where snowfall is a rare sight, the 10th annual Berkeley Snow Day transformed Shattuck Avenue into an icy holiday wonderland by trucking in 10 tons of snow for attendees. Lisa Bullwinkel, a member of the board of directors of Visit Berkeley, has worked to bring unforgettable events and cultural festivals, including Snow Day, to Berkeley for more than 30 years.

“There’s pony rides, craft vendors and entertainers… we have nutcracker dancers coming, and harps and singers,” said Bullwinkel. “Most of the people who are coming to enjoy Snow Day are kids who have never seen snow before, so it’s very special to them.”

The annual family holiday activation was held in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto district, a neighborhood known for its revolutionary restaurant scene and uncompromising food culture. Visitors were urged to bring their snow boots and mittens to play in the snow and share holiday wishes with the Snow Queen.

Even more enthralling holiday activations in mild to sunny regions are set to captivate visitors throughout the state this winter. At the Hilton Holiday By The Bay adventure park in San Diego, visitors can go for a ride with iceberg bumpers, or try to tame Santa’s bucking reindeer. The Reindeer Run, a 100-foot ice tubing slide, is the hotel’s newest attraction and the only one of its kind.

In the state capital of Sacramento, the Downtown Sacramento Partnership has coordinated a collection of special events, drawing visitors to the annual Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink all season long. Visitors can lace up their skates and stretch their legs at the Holiday Shoppe, Kids Day, Silent Disco Skate, Polar Bear Skate and many more.

Down south, the Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights celebrates the season in true Pacific coast style. Instead of Santa’s traditional snowy sleigh, the parade will feature vessels of all sizes decked in holiday lights and ornaments, while onlookers can watch along the harbor in enchantment. Hosted by the Oceanside Yacht Club, the parade is a unique spectacle and celebration of the destination’s local holiday culture.

In the Golden State, destinations are demonstrating that wintery cheer can span well beyond the icy slopes and snow-capped resorts. The mild - and often sunny - winter climate in regions throughout the state allows special opportunities to bring collaborative holiday activations to life, while festively elevating the local flare and culture. 




U.K. & Ireland Sales & Media Mission

July 2019 | Starting at $3,000


IPW Anaheim 2019

June 2019 | Costs TBD


California STAR

Ongoing | Starting at $3,500


Digital content submission - PR

Ongoing | FREE

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