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California Tourism Month amplifies travel spending comeback

By Dan Smith 06/03/2024

Visit California and tourism partners throughout the state celebrated California Tourism Month in May — the annual celebration of the economic power tourism provides all communities in the Golden State.

Buoyed by news that the $150.4 billion travel spending in 2023 exceeded the previous record set in 2019, travel and hospitality partners highlighted the economic comeback with state and local governments and all residents via widespread distribution to the news media.

Gov. Gavin Newsom kicked off the party early in the month, scaling the Golden Gate Bridge to announce the travel spending record and declare that California tourism had fully recovered from the pandemic downturn.

The economic impact report from Dean Runyan Associates broke down the economic impact on jobs, taxes generated, and type of travel spending by county. It was distributed to more than 200 DMOs in advance.

Visit California and DMO partners pitched the news and the broader California Tourism Month economic impact message to dozens of national, state, and local news outlets. That work extended the reach to the New York Times, major network television affiliates in Los Angeles and San Francisco and smaller community outlets, such as the North Bay Business Journal and the Union Democrat in Tuolumne County. As May ended, 133 stories detailing the economic impact comeback or other aspects of tourism month had been recorded.

A second pillar of the effort targeted key decision-makers throughout the state. DMOs encouraged local government elected officials to adopt proclamations that spotlighted California Tourism Month and the economic impact on local jobs, businesses and tax coffers.

California Tourism Month Coffee Sleeve

At the Capitol, meanwhile, state assemblymembers unanimously approved ACR 186, a resolution carried by Assemblymember Mike Gipson that reaffirms California Tourism Month and asks Californians to “support tourism and local businesses by traveling within the state as an act of civic pride.”

Visit California also partnered with coffeehouses near the Capitol to distribute California Tourism Month branded coffee cups and sleeves. This ensured that hundreds of influential legislative staff, members and other policy advocates were exposed to the important message that “Tourism Powers California’s Economy.”

To commemorate both California Tourism Month and National Travel and Tourism Week, Visit California held an ice cream social on the west steps of the Capitol on May 23. Capitol staff and the public were treated to music, a giant 12-foot beach ball and 700 scoops of delicious Gunther’s Ice Cream. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed California-themed flavors like Vanil-LA-LA-Land, Yose-Minty and 9021-Oreo while being exposed to digital messaging highlighting the economic impact of tourism.

Ice Cream at the Capitol   Ice Cream at the Capitol

In addition, Visit California’s economic impact data broken down by legislative district was shared with advocacy partners at Cal Travel, who armed industry members with it for one-on-one meetings with legislators during Advocacy Day on May 14.

Visit California plans to follow up with a custom email to each legislator detailing the economic impact of tourism in their district.

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