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Setting the Stage for a Pivotal Outlook Forum

By Caroline Beteta 01/12/2021

With Visit California’s virtual Outlook Forum only a month away, I’d like to set the stage with a preview of some of the major conference themes and topics I’ll be covering in my keynote. I’ve also included some related industry resources to help you prepare for the conference and that may be of use to your organization right now.

It’s Up to Us

The pandemic remains the elephant in the room. It has certainly affected Outlook Forum, down to the virtual format. But in every crisis there is opportunity: this year’s conference is the most accessible: A record number of industry members have registered already, with more than half attending for the first time.

Our industry is in a position to lead the way in the next stage of recovery. The tourism industry cannot, on its own, stop the spread of COVID-19, prevent wildfires, or solve the myriad of persistent issues that are tarnishing the California brand. And make no mistake — California was hit hard in 2020. However, we are California’s brand stewards and the first movers of economic recovery.

I look forward to sharing more about the importance of tourism industry leadership in times of crisis:  

Additional resources:

The way forward

California’s tourism industry is well positioned to recover economically, but there’s no denying the industry has a steep hill to climb.

To overcome this setback and shorten the recovery window, we need to understand how the market and consumer sentiment are shifting and prepare to ramp up marketing when demand returns. Economic forecasts indicate a five-year recovery, and we’ve already experienced that it will be a jagged one, at least in the near future. To help you prepare, several high-profile economists will be giving U.S. and international forecasts at Outlook Forum.

One undeniable lesson from the past year is importance of a strong, cohesive California brand. California’s statewide marketing program may be most visible in times of prosperity, but it’s most essential during recovery.

Most importantly, the industry must continue to embrace collaboration and speak with one voice. The challenges of the pandemic, I hope, will create opportunities to rise together — to this end, this year’s Outlook Forum will feature sessions on new Visit California resources and partnership opportunities.   

One of the biggest shifts for the Visit California organization and a major conference theme is the pivot to an in-state and domestic audience. I’ll explore how the organization is adapting its strategy and programs to reach this audience — alongside our eventual plans to resurrect travel from California’s tier-1 international markets.

I look forward discussing the way forward for Visit California and California’s tourism industry:

Additional resources:

See you soon

While I’m excited to speak with you at 2021 Outlook Forum, I’m most looking forward to experiencing the conference as an attendee. Previewing the conference’s 20 sessions has already sparked fresh ideas and focused my thinking about the future of our industry and how we can build back better.

Until February, be well and Dream Big.

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