Caroline Beteta
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CEO Update: It's Working

By Caroline Beteta 10/18/2019

Visit California’s Board of Directors gathered in Santa Barbara for the Fall Board Meeting, reflecting on the success of the state’s travel and tourism industry and taking several significant steps to ensure the ongoing strength of the industry.

Reflecting on success. Visit California’s global marketing program continues to deliver millions of visitors to California’s businesses, supporting the nation’s largest tourism economy. Here are a few highlights of the marketing program of work.

  • IPW 2019 marked the global launch of the Road Trip Republic, a platform that positions California as the ultimate road trip destination. To support this platform, a new online TV spot, “Born to be Wild,” captures the carefree spirit of California road trips.
  • In celebration of the official California Surfing Day on Sept. 20, Visit California deployed a multi-layered campaign to promote the history and culture of surfing, and celebrate the 840 miles of coastline that lure travelers here from around the world. Activations with traditional media, influencers and key elected officials, coupled with new brand content helped share the uniquely California surf culture with the world. A freshwater surf competition with the World Surf League even brought the celebrations inland to the Central Valley.
  • The California Welcome Center network continues to inspire visitors to extend their stay and explore more of the state’s offerings. With four new welcome centers and another three locations set to open this year, Visit California will boast 21 welcome centers, reaching all corners of the state. 

Addressing economic conditions. While the industry has enjoyed nine years of unprecedented growth, an economic slowdown may be on the short-term horizon. New 2019 forecast data reflects a slowdown tourism businesses felt this summer.

In response, the Board of Directors voted to reallocate $2.7 million from international marketing investments to the Domestic market, which has the greatest potential to contribute to visitation in the short term.

However, even in times of economic softening, tourism has proved to be one of the most resilient industries when it is supported by strategic marketing programs. Visit California’s data-driven approach will continue to deliver dividends for our state’s tourism businesses.

Developing a statewide Destination Stewardship plan. As discussed at Outlook Forum earlier this year, 
destination stewardship is critically important to ensure California’s tourism economy remains strong for decades to come. A key objective of the board meeting was receiving input and direction from the board to develop a statewide plan that ensures the long-term sustainability of the tourism economy. You can help inform the plan by taking a 10-minute survey at

Support Visit California’s marketing renewal referendum. Every six years, California’s travel industry considers whether to continue funding statewide tourism marketing. The renewal effort is guided by an industry task force with dozens of representatives from every tourism region and segment. The task force is co-chaired by Visit California Chair James Bermingham of Montage International and Commissioner Joe D’Alessandro of San Francisco Travel. Industry voting will take place in December. 
Please vote “yes” this December to ensure the continued success of California’s travel and tourism industry.

Let’s continue the progress we have made in promoting California to the world.

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