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Arts Travel
DMOs leverage arts experiences, local creatives to engage travelers

By Lindsay Wright

With the vast amounts of travel-worthy amenities available in California, it’s not always easy to determine what makes a visitor book a trip to the Golden State. When it comes to arts and culture, while many may only happen upon museums and galleries in town, a distinct segment of travelers are driven by nationally-recognized events and unforgettable exhibitions.

For two California destinations, targeted marketing for the arts is a strategic way to attract new visitors, as well as recognize the attributes that make their cities unique.

“Los Angeles is at the crossroad of global commerce, culture and creativity, and the arts are a fundamental driving force behind our dynamic destination,” says Mary Carley, senior director of business affairs at Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “L.A. is an iconic cultural capital, and the richness of our arts and culture assets is in the city’s DNA.”

No matter the reason for their visits, tourists expect to experience art in its many forms, Carley says, from murals and architecture to concerts and theaters.

Acknowledging the importance of these attractions, Discover Los Angeles has included Arts and Culture as one of its four marketing pillars. The destination uses its blog, website, social media — while also working with global social media influencers — to showcase the destination through an arts lens. Each year, over 200 international media come to the city to cover its cultural diversity.

The tourism bureau has even partnered with the Los Angeles Arts Commission to launch the Discover L.A. app, which offers personalized suggestions on things to do like visiting world-class museums. The technology can make up-to-the-minute recommendations to showcase what’s happening in each of Los Angeles' neighborhoods. Discover Los Angeles sums up its 2018 arts and culture highlights on their blog, which details several celebrations and trip-worthy events.

In the Bay Area, Oakland is homing in on arts travel in similar fashion. To pay homage to its vibrant arts and culture scene, Visit Oakland launched Oakland Art Month in May 2018 to highlight the city’s robust gallery offerings and visual artists.

“We wanted to ensure no part of the arts community was excluded and decided to expand it from just visual arts," says Ben Taylor, destination development manager at Visit Oakland. "We felt a monthlong celebration was necessary to be able to tell all the stories and highlight as many events as possible working with such a diverse network of artists,” 

To showcase the city’s variety of experiences, Visit Oakland aims to promote both individual artists and larger institutions to highlight the city’s greater creative community.

“The most enjoyable role we’ve fallen into over the last few years is that of facilitator," Taylor says. "With such a wide range of artists within Oakland, it’s always great to be able to help pair organizations up and allow their combined creative energy to produce great collaborations. We also try to intertwine local arts into every aspect of our organization."

To further promote its arts and culture scenes, Visit Oakland commissioned local muralists to design backdrops for its mobile visitor center that are then used by its sales team while on the road. Familiarization tours include interviews with artists and visits to museums and galleries. The team also creates video features and solicits social media takeovers with prominent local artists as part of its fully integrated arts marketing strategy.

“We feel the arts community gives Oakland its soul," Taylor says. "It keeps us connected to the past as well as provides innovation and opens minds to new ways of thinking.

“Oakland is a city filled with creative minds from an incredible array of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and the arts often provide the best opportunity for visitors to understand the culture of The Town and what makes this place so special.”



Woman speaking with man at the 2017 San Francisco Media Reception. People conversing in background.
Greater Palm Springs CVB Amplifies its Oasis in Brand Campaign

By Laurie Haynes
Posted 19 days ago

This year, Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau attained Visit California’s Poppy Award for Best Overall Marketing Program – $500,000 to $2 million for its “Find Your Oasis” campaign.

Since its inception in 2014, the campaign has helped to unify the nine resort cities within Greater Palm Springs, and truly showcases the power of collaboration while highlighting the rich cultures and experiences that await visitors in each city.

In 2017, the message reached consumers through print, TV, out-of-home, digital, social media and more. The campaign has continued to drive visitation to each city and increased consumer awareness of Greater Palm Springs as a top destination choice among travelers.

Over the years, the campaign’s creative marketing strategy has effectively evolved to stay aligned with SMARI research, travel habits and campaign ROI research. Greater Palms Springs CVB has expanded its marketing program from print, to digital, social media and television marketing, and shared the oasis that awaits travelers in ways like never before in 2017.

“We can just tweak each of the pillars each year, and the campaign keeps building upon itself in awareness,” said Bob Thibault, Chief Destination Development Officer. “It’s not like we’ve created a campaign that works for one year. This campaign has really good life, and it builds upon itself.”

Greater Palm Springs CVB develops all marketing creatives in-house, and the Find Your Oasis campaign compellingly highlights the destination pillars of outdoor adventure; health and wellness; and art and culture with emotive and inspiring content across an array of channels.

Whether travelers value relaxation, artistic appreciation, or otherworldly nature experiences, Greater Palm Springs CVB has shown that each traveler can decide what finding their oasis means to them, and provides the resources and inspiration to obtain it at their fingertips.

“Find Your Oasis is becoming a very powerful statement because it’s personal,” said Jeff Miraglia, Chief Creative Officer. “We shifted the paradigm of being a vibrant, modern, health-conscious, activity and adventure-driven, geographical oasis. Which is different than what people say is a desert community.”

With nine collaborative resort cities to draw inspirational content and experiences from, Greater Palm Springs CVB’s creative strategy has no limits. Travelers can find their oasis in any of the destination’s resort cities, which include: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella.

Find Your Oasis has elevated the awareness of each city regionally, nationally and globally, and each city can easily stake its own claim within the overall destination brand. This collaborative synergy allows all visitors to fulfill their passions, whatever they may be.

“If you look at the mantra of the destination, it’s all about collaboration on every level now,” said Thibault. “We look to those cities to provide a different vision of the lifestyle, but combined, they make the Greater Palm Springs lifestyle.

"Even more, the Find Your Oasis campaign creates greater opportunity and marketing reach for local tourism businesses such as hotels and resorts, restaurants, retail and more by expanding their reach to national and global audiences.

"[The campaign] gives the hotels and resorts, and the other experience providers an opportunity to reach audiences that they weren’t able to reach without the global brand," said Miraglia. “We’re giving them the perfect frame work to really craft, sculpt and articulate their story.”

Greater Palm Springs CVB’s Find Your Oasis campaign continued to elevate the array of experiences that await visitors in the wondrous desert in 2017, and the collaborative culture throughout the destination will help to fuel the brand’s success for years to come.


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