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Global Marketing


Through the first half of FY19/20, Visit California and industry partners executed on numerous brand and marketing achievements. The California brand continued to inspire travelers around the world, thanks to the momentum of high-performing platforms such as the Road Trip Republic and continued to strengthen relationships in 14 markets. Paid advertising returned $14.05 billion to the state’s businesses in 2019, with an additional $726 million in revenue generated from To name just a few accomplishments.    

When the global COVID-19 pandemic prevented millions of anticipated Golden State vacations, Visit California adapted many of these industry-guided marketing programs and pivoted away from others. These early actions have enabled the industry to reach a number of milestones in the preliminary stages of recovery, even in the face of ongoing travel restrictions.
Gene Zanger Sig
Gene Zanger
Vice Chair of Marketing, Visit California
Partner, Casa de Fruta Parkway, LLC


By the Numbers
Year-Round Foundational Activities Inspire California Tourism 

Paid Media


  • $10.1 million investment
  • 1.98 billion impressions
  • 198.9 million households reached

Earned Media


  • 11.5 billion global impressions
  • 4,800 placements
  • 200 media and influencers hosted
  • 125 destinations visited
  • 440 businesses featured through the Media Center


  • 270 new content pieces
  • 2.9 million social followers
  • 9.7 million unique visitors to Visit California global websites
  • 5 million partner handoffs
  • 1.2 million California Welcome Center visitors



  • 17 FAMs
  • 20 co-ops completed
  • 3,500 meetings conducted
  • 9,000 new CA STAR registrants
  • 13,200 international agents trained
  • 1,900 domestic agents trained (since March)
  • 1,500 contacts in a new domestic trade network (since March)

Marketing the California Dream

$14.05 B
Ad Influenced Incremental Spend (FY18/19)
198.9 M
Households Reached
Destinations Featured

The global brand TV/OTV spot continued to run in key domestic and global markets until the pandemic closure. The spot features California destinations certain to stir up jealousy in anyone whose next vacation isn't in the Golden State, including: Torrey Pines, Redwood National Park, Treebones resort, Lake Siskiyou, Goat Rock Beach, Santa Barbara and Napa Valley.

'Parents Love It'
Visit California refreshed its family focused Kidifornia TV/OTV spot, which appeals to millennial parents by showing children creating their own story at some of the most dreamed about California attractions. The refresh added theme park attractions including Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Universal’s Jurassic World: The Ride. 

'Born To Be Wild'
Visit California rolled out its newest OTV spot in the "Road Trip Republic" campaign. The 30-second ad appeals to road warriors with imagery of California’s scenic roadways and drivers chasing their dreams at 65 mph.

Brand Marketing didn't stop here. Check out these campaigns:

Brand USA Co-ops

Road Trip Republic

Catch the Winter Wave
Read more >> 3.0

Fast. Intuitive. Mobile. Industry-First.

Visit California continued to extend the reach of its online and print channels. Original content releases and vibrant social media communities inspired California Dreaming, while real-time travel updates and best practices helped visitors stay safe and informed.

The consumer site, which serves as a hub for the organization's owned content platforms, benefitted from a major refresh in June. A technical evolution of the site’s content management system offered significant performance gains and opened the door for site-wide enhancements on the front end. Design and content overhauls more intuitively connect travelers to content relevant to their interests and trip planning, resulting in increased partner handoffs that directly result in bookings.

Site Speed Increase
New Content Pieces
Businesses Featured 3.0
Thousands of travelers start their trips at, adding $726 million* in tourism revenue.

*Statistics reflect FY18/19. Source: SMARInsights


Forging Alliances
Furthering Travel and Tourism Opportunities Abroad
In accordance with Visit California’s mission of doing what the industry can’t do for itself, the organization maintained a strong international presence in 14 markets, building on years of investment in targeting high-ROI travelers. Marketing activations supported by trade and sales missions furthered the foundation in markets before the pandemic paused all efforts.

India Mission
A sales mission to India, part of a multi-year push into the market, proved to be one of the standout successes of FY19/20. The mission benefited from a partnership with Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis — a strong advocate for travel and tourism abroad and in the Capitol. She had planned a coinciding trade mission boasting 30 California businesses. The joint delegation hosted and attended media interviews and industry events in an effort to grow to $1.1 billion spent in 2019 by Indian visitors to California.

India Sales Mission
(from left) California DMO CEOs Tom Kiely (West Hollywood), Misti Kerns (Santa Monica) and Kathy Janega-Dykes (Santa Barbara), Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Film Commissioner Colleen Bell, and Julie Wagner (Beverly Hills) take a press photo at VIP networking dinner.

California Leadership Abroad
Seen as a model among other countries, California has shown the incredible economic impact that comes from a thriving tourism industry.  In that regard, Visit California President & CEO Caroline participated in a mission to El Salvador organized by Gov. Newsom to represent the state and share insights on inspiring tourism.  Accompanied by Orange Country Visitor’s Association’s CEO Ed Fuller, they met with President Navib Bukeleto and participated in media interviews. 

See also:

Brand USA India Mission

California STAR

Canada Sales Media Mission

CEDIV Congress


Germany and France Sales Missions



NBA India

U.K. Sales Media Mission




In the Headlines
Media and Influencers Share Golden State Stories
A robust global PR program garnered coverage worldwide to reinforce California’s position as a dream destination.

11.5 B
California Surfing Day

California Surfing Day
Led by public relations, Visit California ran a multi-pronged campaign to promote California Surfing Day 2019, a Sept. 20 celebration of the official state sport. Building up to the statewide holiday, Visit California hosted a series of media and influencer trips to showcase California’s thriving surf culture. The California Now Network star Jonny Moseley filmed a special episode of "Jonny Moseley’s Wildest Dreams" with champion foilboarder Kai Lenny and promoted Surfing Day as a guest on “Good Morning America."

Surf hotspots up and down the coast partnered with Visit California to promote the state-wide celebration. Highlights included the Stop, Drop, and Surf competition hosted by Huntington Beach and the F.G.R. Still Frothy surf festival at Pismo Beach. More than 100 miles inland, the Central Valley made waves at the World Surf League Freshwater Pro, hosted at surfing icon Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch. 

Visit California's Approval Ratings Over Time

2019 Marketing Renewal Referendum
The Industry Voted “Yes!”
Every six years, the industry votes on whether to continue the Visit California marketing program. In the 2019 referendum, a record 95% of votes cast were in favor of renewing Visit California — the highest approval rating since Visit California’s inception among the largest pool of voting stakeholders to date. All industry segments and all 12 California tourism regions voted in favor. This united tourism industry support reflects the longstanding success of the state's innovative tourism model, which supported a decade of uninterrupted growth and has led the way through severe economic crises. 

See also:

Marketing Renewal Referendum



2020 Outlook Forum
Setting a Vision for the Industry
A record number of industry attendees joined experts from destinations around the world in focused sessions on topics from stewardship and brand marketing to the shifting earned media and trade landscapes. Through intensive in-person presentations and discussions, industry leaders contributed to a vision of growth and sustainability for California tourism. In an unforgettable Poppy Awards ceremony, Visit California leadership recognized industry partners for accomplishments in destination marketing. The ceremony culminated with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk receiving the California Dreamer award for his pioneering career and philanthropic work building skate parks for underserved communities.

Poppy Award Winners




Speaker Highlights

  • Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines
  • Phil Rosenthal, Creator, “Everyone Loves Raymond” & “Somebody Feed Phil”
  • Dylan Thuras, Co-Founder, Atlas Obscura
  • J.D. Heyman, Editor-in-Chief, Entertainment Weekly
  • Roger Dow, President & CEO, U.S. Travel Association
  • Chris Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA
  • Don Welsh, President & CEO, Destinations International





Poppy Award Winners

  • Bishop Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
  • Explore Inyo County
  • Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Humboldt County Visitors Bureau
  • Los Angeles Zoo
  • Mammoth Lakes Tourism
  • Mono County Tourism
  • North Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus
  • San Diego Tourism Authority
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • San Francisco Travel Association
  • Visit Laguna Beach
  • Visit Tuolumne County
  • Visit Yosemite Madera County
  • Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau
  • Yosemite National Park