Year in review - California Tourism Industry Site



Year in review - California Tourism Industry Site
Year in Review
Annual Report: July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012
Travel-Related Spending
Surpasses $100 billion
Page 1
California Ambassador
Rob Lowe
Page 10
Going Global
Page 21
Pow Wow 2012
Page 32
Looking Ahead:
Priorities for 2012–13
Page 39
President’s Message
Onward & Upward
orward momentum best describes our
state’s travel and tourism industry in
2011–2012. For the first time, annual
travel-related spending in California
broke the $100 billion barrier — and forecasts
for next year are even higher. This milestone
proves our industry’s resilience while
demonstrating, once again, that California
is the place to visit.
Caroline Beteta
President & CEO,
Visit California
Chair, Brand USA
One of our proudest successes over the past
year is the continued growth in international
marketing. From the 22-country “California
Experts” training program to the industryled China Ready campaign, Visit California
continues to position the state as a top
destination for foreign travelers. Our celebrity
ambassadors are spreading the word globally,
creating millions of impressions and providing
significant media value.
Visit California also brought the California
dream directly to international buyers. This
past November, we led a state delegation to
the World Travel Market in London where we
debuted the documentary film Dreamland at
the Royal London Opera House. The premiere
was a fitting follow-up to California’s royal visit
from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
earlier that year. California also hosted
International Pow Wow, the nation’s largest
travel trade show, for the second year in a row.
This year’s Pow Wow marked the formal
launch of Brand USA’s multi-country
promotional campaign. As Brand USA’s
incoming chair and interim CEO, I am
committed to ensuring that this new entity
positions the nation’s tourism industry for
success and that we never experience another
“Lost Decade.” Visit California continues to
work with policymakers to move forward on
visa reform and breaking down other barriers
to international visitation.
On the local front, California’s Tourism
Marketing Districts (TMDs) are making an
impact in more than 60 metro and rural
areas. TMDs continue to replace scarce
government dollars with a stable source
of industry-generated funding for tourism
promotion. Each $1 invested by the state’s
TMDs generates a remarkable $70 return for
the economy — that’s a true success story and
an excellent example of leveraging innovative
solutions during challenging budgetary times.
In this economic climate, the entire Visit
California team is committed to providing
maximum value while minimizing costs and
streamlining our operations. Our goal is to be
a model public-private partnership in both
operations and execution. That is why we
continue to implement our Five-Year Strategic
Marketing Plan — each step forward will result
in more value and more opportunities for the
whole industry.
Visit California’s accomplishments are, indeed,
the accomplishments of the industry that we
serve. As a member organization, we exist
to provide our stakeholders best-in-class
products and customer service. This Year in
Review captures much of our work over the
past fiscal year. Your partnership drove the
success of every event and program featured
in the pages ahead.
On behalf of the entire Visit California team,
thank you for your support and collaboration.
As California’s travel and tourism industry
continues to build momentum, our industry
partnerships are critical to propelling
California’s travel and tourism industry — and
the state’s economy — onward and upward.
The California Travel and Tourism Commission, doing business as Visit California, is a private nonprofit corporation formed
in 1988 to market California as a desirable tourism destination. Visit California works in close coordination with California’s
Division of Tourism — while Visit California conducts marketing programs that drive visitation, the Division of Tourism
oversees the assessment program that helps to fund these initiatives. Visit California serves as the industry leader for more
than 100 statewide destination marketing organizations and more than 60 tourism business districts. In partnership with
the state’s travel and tourism industry, Visit California aims to keep California top of mind as a premier travel destination.
For more information about Visit California and a free California Visitor’s Guide, go to
Economic Analysis of Visit California’s Impact
he travel industry continues to drive economic growth
in both the national and the state economy. Occupancy
and room rates across the U.S. had year-to-year growth
in each month of the fiscal year and increases in
travel‑related employment continue to outpace the economy
as a whole. Since March of 2011, the American travel industry
has created 271,000 new jobs at a pace that is 26 percent
faster than the rest of the economy.
Here in California, the tourism industry is one of the state’s
economic success stories. Travel-related spending within the
state surpassed $100 billion for the first time in history in 2011
and is projected to reach $107 billion in 2012. The industry
employed nearly a million people and generated $6.3 billion in
state and local tax revenue. Between June of 2011 and 2012, the
leisure and hospitality sector added 48,600 jobs, a 3.2 percent
increase — compared to the only 2 percent increase in non-farm
employment as a whole.
Spending by international visitors continues to be a key
part of the state’s export economy. The $19.1 billion spent in
California in 2011 by international travelers alone was equal
to the combined value of the state’s top four product exports
(civilian aircraft, computer parts, non-industrial diamonds,
and voice/image/data equipment.) Visit California is proud
to have contributed to the travel industry’s incredible growth
in the Golden State. Visit California’s marketing efforts in the
U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia reached almost 70 million
people, resulting in 3.8 million incremental trips; $5.5 billion in
incremental spending; and a return on investment of $231 to $1.
Global Advertising Effectiveness
Media Investment
$23.7 million
68.9 million
Aware Households:
69% or 47 million
Incremental Trips
3.8 million
Incremental Spending
$5.5 billion
Tax Revenue
$231 to $1 $15 to $1
Principles and Strategies
Visit California is a private
not-for-profit corporation
Guiding Principles
Do what the industry cannot do for itself.
Leverage existing assets and alliances; focus on
international and emerging market brand development.
Evaluate program measurements and return
on investment (ROI) for major programs.
Focus on out-of-state and international audiences
to build and refine the California brand.
Support tourism-related businesses.
Accelerate Web leadership.
Align with CVBs, DMOs, U.S. Travel Leadership,
and Brand USA.
that operates jointly with
the State of California’s
Division of Tourism to market
California as a desirable
tourism destination.
“O ur future success as a state is going
to be dependent on an innovative,
creative-based economy, and the
tourism and travel industry will be a
major pillar of that framework.”
— George Kalogridis, President, Disneyland Anaheim,
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts;
Visit California Board Member
Year in review 201 1–2012
Objective 1:
Objective 2:
Objective 3:
Objective 4:
Take advantage of
Visit California’s
position at the state
level to promote all of
California and create a
platform that supports
DMO and industry
marketing investments.
Expand the
California travel
brand to increase
its connection
to consumers
worldwide and to
inspire the desire to
travel to California.
Deepen relationship
with consumers
to move beyond
providing inspiration
to potential
California travelers
during every stage
of the travel cycle.
Welcome inbound
visitors from
international markets,
creating awareness
of California and
inspiring the desire
to experience our
travel products.
Advertising & Brand
Cooperative Marketing
National Marketing
Earned Media
Social Media
PR/Travel Trade
Marketing Mission:
Develop and
maintain marketing
programs — in partnership
with the state’s travel
industry — that keep
California top-of-mind
as a premier travel
Marketing Objective:
Maintain and increase
non‑resident leisure
travel to and spending
in California.
Year At A Glance
J uly 1 , 2 0 1 1 – J u n e 3 0, 2 0 1 2
July 2011:
The Royal Summer
“Three Days Isn’t
Enough” campaign
leveraged the
enormous publicity
surrounding the
Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge’s July
tour of California.
The campaign
generated 588 media
placements, reached
over 593 million
people, and achieved
a value of more
than $2.1 million in
paid advertising.
Visit California also
held a day-long rural
planning meeting to
solicit industry input
on program strategy
and plans for the year.
Visit California
planned for the
execution of its
programs and
events for the entire
upcoming year,
including marketing
plans for the premiere
of Dreamland at the
Royal Opera House
and the program
launch of Brand USA
at the World Travel
Market in London.
Tonight aired the
first of ten “Spotlight
on California”
featurettes in a
content integration
partnership with
Visit California. Each
spotlight showcased
regions in California
through the eyes of
the celebrities that
love them.
Visit California’s new
California Tourism
Rob Lowe, filmed
public affairs
messages about
Why Travel Matters
to California and
consumer content
about the activities
and destinations he
loves in California.
“The travel and tourism
industry has done bold
and heroic things for the
state’s economy, vitality,
and image. And much of it
has been done with the
support of Visit California.”
—Rob Lowe, actor; California Tourism
Year in review 201 1–2012
California’s Asian
Tourism Ambassador
BH Lee embarked on
a tour of Northern
California’s wineries
as part of Visit
California Asia’s
latest pan-Asia
integrated media
project. Content from
the trip was featured
in Cosmopolitan
Korea, Cosmopolitan
China, and VOGUE
Japan, as well as
on Visit California
Asia’s award
winning microsite
“California Road.”
During November,
Visit California
also led the largest
delegation in history
to the World Travel
Market in London.
Visit California
sponsored the
2011 California Hall
of Fame, honoring
California icons like
The Beach Boys,
Earvin “Magic”
Johnson, and
Buzz Aldrin. Visit
California also
formally announced
actor and longtime
California resident
Rob Lowe, who
delivered the event’s
opening remarks,
as its new California
Spokesperson and
Celebrity Ambassador.
Key Facts/By the Numbers
$102.3 billion
in direct travel-related consumer spending in 2011
tourism-related jobs
$30.4 billion
14.5 million
international visitors spent
$19.1 billion
in state and
local tax receipts
At the annual
California Marketing
Outlook Forum,
Visit California
gathered its travel
and tourism partners
together to learn
and network about
what’s new in
Visit California’s
marketing programs
and in the global
total travel-related
consumer spending
forecast for 2012
in travel-related earnings
$6.3 billion
January 2012:
Visit California
brought back
California Restaurant
Month for its second
successful year in
January, securing
28 participating
California Restaurant
Month reinforced
reputation for
gourmet food
and fine wine and
resulted in more
than 35.8 million
media impressions.
$107 billion:
Visit California led
its largest-ever
delegation to
the International
Tourism Fair in
Berlin and unveiled
its new Online
Media Center, a
web-based press
hub that enables
Visit California to
deliver content
and news to media
around the world
365 days a year.
As the co-host of
International Pow Wow
2012, Visit California
and California
representatives from
more than 200 travelrelated companies and
destinations maximized
opportunities to
influence a captive
audience of the
world’s travel media
and top buyers of
U.S. travel products.
In keeping with its
strong emphasis on
international tourism,
Visit California launched
the China Ready
initiative, an educational
platform designed to
prepare the state’s
tourism industry to
better serve Chinese
travelers, establish a
standard level of service,
and retain California’s
competitive edge.
Visit California
kicked off its
Summer of Fun
“Travel creates good jobs and
strengthens state and local
economies. Every $109,000 spent
on tourism means another job
for a Californian.”
—Rusty Gregory, Chair and CEO,
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area LLC;
Visit California Chief Fiscal Officer
Message from the CFO
“By the Numbers”
urpassing $100 billion in travel-related spending is a
major milestone for our industry and a sign of good
things to come for the state. While the growth of
travel and tourism is our first job at Visit California, the
team led by Caroline remains intently focused on streamlining
operations and keeping a lid on costs. Success requires that
maximum resources be applied to tourism promotion and the
support of our industry partners.
Rusty Gregory
Chairman & CEO,
Mammoth Mountain
Ski Area, LLC
Fiscal year 2011–2012 ended on a very strong note with just
10 percent of the total budget spent on frictional costs
like salaries, benefits, staff travel, legal fees and rent. This
performance is in stark contrast to similar organizations
which often incur 20–30 percent in operational overhead.
Additionally, staff accurately projected assessment proceeds
and optimized collections to reach this year’s goal of
$50 million in operating revenue. Visit California also received
another unqualified audit without any material weaknesses.
The organization continues to modernize its internal
infrastructure, including an information technology
upgrade designed to improve website performance and
the use of a number of virtual servers that reduce power
consumption — “greening up” operations in fact, not just
appearance. Visit California also moved offices with a new
lease that will save $1 million over the term of occupancy.
With total travel-related spending in the California market
estimated to approach $110 billion in 2012, Visit California
remains committed to securing the best possible return on
investment for our industry partners.
Governor’s Reorganization Plan
As part of the Governor’s Reorganization Plan, Visit California now
falls under the auspices of the Office of Tourism to the Governor’s
Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz.) The
current Chair, the Secretary for Business Transportation and
Housing, will be replaced with the Director of GO-Biz.
To view Visit California’s budget for fiscal year 2011–12, please visit:
Year in review 201 1–2012
Contributions by
Industry Segment
Proposed Budget
Fiscal Year 2012–13
Global Brand & Program
& Retail
•Global Brand Advertising
•Global Digital
•Global Publications
•Global Travel Trade
•Global Research
•Global Consumer Co-Op
•Industry Relations
•Welcome Centers
Rental Cars
Total Global Brand & Program
Total International
Marketing Reserve
Total Marketing
Total Operations
Total Budget
Top California Exports
The $19.1 billion spent in California in 2011 by international travelers alone was
equal to the combined value of the state’s top four product exports.
$19.1 B International Visitor Spending
$5.4 B Civilian Aircraft
$4.9 B Computer Parts
$4.8 B Non-Industrial Diamonds
$4.0 B Voice/Image/Data Equipment
$5 B
$10 B
$15 B
$20 B
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Dean Runyan Associates
California Employment Growth — June 2011 to June 2012
The Leisure & Hospitality sector added 48,600 jobs between June of 2011 and 2012,
a 3.2 percent increase. This growth outpaced job growth for non-farm employment
as a whole, up 2.0 percent for the same period.
3.2% Leisure & Hospitality
2.0% Total Non-Farm
Source: State of California Employment Development Department
“Visit California has a proven track record for
spending money wisely — 90 percent of the budget
goes directly to marketing and reserves, with just
10 percent going to operations.”
—Kathy Turner, Vice President,
Legislative Affairs and Government Affairs, Enterprise Holdings;
Vice Chair of Operations, Visit California
Year in review 201 1–2012
Message from Vice Chair of Marketing
“Building the Brand”
Ed Fuller
President and
Managing Director,
Marriott Lodging
n our first year of implementing the FiveYear Strategic Marketing Plan, Visit California
continues to enrich the California brand by
emphasizing California’s creativity, culture,
and sense of adventure. The marketing platform
leverages a comprehensive blend of print and
television ads, digital content, cooperative
promotions and partnerships, and event
sponsorships. We are especially focused on
communicating to core consumers — the digitally
savvy visitors who seek the full California
experience and life enrichment it provides.
With a full range of traditional and online
content, Visit California crafted responsive,
inspiring marketing messages about all the
Golden State has to offer. Our celebrity
ambassadors — including celebrated actor
Rob Lowe — extended our exposure in domestic
and international markets. The “True Californians”
print campaign highlighted California’s cultural
innovations, while the “Out There” television
spots brought the natural beauty of rural
California into our audience’s living rooms.
Visit California fostered a vibrant social media
community and unveiled our new mobile site
and iPad app, delivering the amazing assets
that are California into the palm of your hand.
And with high-profile sponsorships of events
like the Amgen Tour of California and the iconic
California Hall of Fame, Visit California continued
to enhance the state’s travel brand.
As we enter the second year of our Five‑Year
Strategic Marketing Plan, we look forward to
providing even more value to our industry
partners and building upon the momentum of
this year’s successful marketing efforts.
The Visit California team inspires domestic and international travelers
to explore the Golden State from 17 Locations worldwide.
Celebrity Engagement
California’s celebrities embody the state’s unique attitude and vibrant personality.
Visit California has a long history of partnering with celebrities in its brand
advertising program, and this year, it moved beyond advertising to establish
a deeper marketing relationship with a few celebrities to serve as California
ambassadors — Rob Lowe, BH Lee, and Jackie Bracamontes.
Rob Lowe
(United States, Canada, United Kingdom,
and Australia)
n 2011 and 2012, Visit California expanded its
relationship with quintessential Californian
Rob Lowe, who became the official spokesman for
the Visit California brand. The partnership with Rob
Lowe capitalizes on one of California’s key destination
drivers — Hollywood and celebrity culture — as well as
Rob’s enthusiasm for everything from biking across the
Golden Gate Bridge to skiing Mammoth Mountain to
surfing off the Santa Barbara coast.
Rob is passionate not only about exploring and
experiencing all that California has to offer, but
also about the economic vitality of the state. This
year, Rob has focused on Why Travel Matters to
California, highlighting the economic impact that the
tourism industry has in the Golden State. In addition
to his participation in two TV commercials for
Visit California, Rob contributed content for a series
of consumer website vignettes, provided business-tobusiness content, and appeared on the cover of the
California Visitor’s Guide. Rob also participated in a
40+ city satellite tour and delivered the welcoming
remarks at the Visit California-sponsored 2011
California Hall of Fame.
Year in review 201 1–2012
BH Lee
(China, Japan, and South Korea)
n his second year as Visit
California’s Asian Ambassador,
BH Lee continued to inspire
potential travelers from China,
Japan, and South Korea to
experience all that California has
to offer. The actor — a celebrity
throughout Asia and best known in
the U.S. for his roles in “G.I. Joe” and
“G.I. Joe 2” — has exposed several
Asian markets to the tremendous
appeal of California as a world-class
leisure destination and leveraged
his significant fan base across Asia.
In November of 2011, BH Lee toured
California’s wine country, creating
content emphasizing California’s
culture of fine wine and gourmet
food. The campaign was massively
popular in Visit California’s Asian
markets, resulting in a total of 22
pages of photos, interviews, and
feature articles in Cosmopolitan
Korea, Cosmopolitan China, and
VOGUE Japan. Not only did the
campaign earn $1.2 million in
media value and make 1,085,000
impressions, but it was also
highlighted in Visit California Korea’s
award-winning microsite “California
Road,” heightening Visit California’s
presence in the mobile market.
Jackie Bracamontes
irroring the celebrity ambassador
partnerships with Rob Lowe and
BH Lee, Visit California launched its
newest partnership in August featuring
Mexico’s Jackie Bracamontes, a highly popular
Televisa Worldwide network star and a former Miss
Mexico. Jackie has contributed extensive video
content focusing on wine & food, family activities,
outdoor, shopping, California urban areas, and
California drives to highlight California experiences
on, the official site for
Visit California in Mexico. Jackie will endorse travel
itineraries, provide recommendations, and blog on
the Mexico site, allowing Mexican visitors to see
California through her eyes.
“True Californians”
his year, the popular multimarket
“True Californians” print campaign
featured an impressive cast of California
innovators and icons who bring the brand
to life, including race car driver and wine guru
Randy Lewis, extreme skiing pioneer Glen Plake,
inventor of the wetsuit Jack O’Neill, and Kogi BBQ
founder Roy Choi.
The latest “True Californian” is Linda Perry, former
lead singer of 4 Non-Blondes and renowned
song writer and producer. The ad features Perry
on California’s “Rock n Roll Row,” a collection of
California’s most beloved music venues including
the Whiskey a Go-Go, The Roxy Theatre, and
the Fillmore Auditorium. The campaign, which
plays chiefly to the UK market, invites UK visitors
to experience California’s music scene and the
people and places that inspired it.
Year in review 201 1–2012
Television and Film
Television and film continues to be the foundation of Visit California’s
brand advertising. This year, Visit California unveiled a new :30 commercial
emphasizing California’s rural destinations, refreshed the umbrella brand ad
spot to include new Celebrity Ambassador Rob Lowe, and introduced domestic
and international audiences to the California documentary Dreamland.
n the heels of California’s
own royal visit, Visit
California premiered the
California documentary Dreamland
at London’s Royal Opera House in
advance of the World Trade Market.
The film — which provides a living,
breathing snapshot of what makes
California so desirable to travelers
from around the world — tells the
story of one day in California. Filmed
simultaneously from dawn until dusk
on November 19, 2010, it follows a
remarkable ensemble of Californians
who possess the spirit of innovation
and adventure unique to the
Golden State.
The stars of the film traveled to
London to help Visit California
celebrate its debut and bring the
film to life in spectacular fashion:
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson,
musician Liz Phair, big wave surfers
Sarah and Mike Gerhardt, pioneering
women in wine Amelia and Dalia
Ceja, and professional climber Kevin
Jorgeson. After watching the film,
the audience was brought behind
the scenes of the documentary and
its subjects through an engaging
Q&A led by the film’s director, Mark
Obenhaus, followed by a surprise
concert by Liz Phair and her band.
The London premiere kicked off a
multi-year campaign centered on
the people, places, and experiences
featured in Dreamland, which will air
on public television in the U.S. and
in key international markets. Visit
California will continue to work with
the talent as ambassadors for the
brand, with their authentic voices
amplifying California’s reputation as
an inspirational place to live and visit.
Broadcast Integration
Entertainment Tonight
fter the success of Visit California’s
integrated partnership with Ellen
last year, Visit California launched a
similarly “DVR‑proof” content integration
program with Entertainment Tonight, one of
the top syndicated shows on television with
a per episode audience of 6 million viewers.
Visit California kicked off the Entertainment
Tonight partnership by sponsoring the 2011
Entertainment Tonight Emmy After-Party.
The party drew over 1,200 celebrities and
entertainment industry guests, providing
an opportunity to capitalize on the global
and national press coverage of the Emmys
and position the California brand by showcasing some of the
Golden State’s finest chefs, wineries, and destination imagery.
The Emmy party was followed by a ten‑week content
integration program. The “Spotlight on California” feature
explored California’s destinations
through the eyes of the celebrities that
love them. Each spotlight included
insider insights into each location
as viewers explored Yosemite, Lake
Tahoe, and Shasta with Clint Eastwood;
Los Angeles and the Central Valley
with chef Wolfgang Puck; and Malibu,
Santa Barbara, and Mammoth with our
Celebrity Ambassador Rob Lowe.
The reach of the partnership was
extended with the launch of a “Spotlight
on California” microsite with ETOnline
and Visitors to the
site explored a regional map with expanded regional content,
viewed links to the Visit California website and the real-time
Twitter feed, and were introduced to other ways to connect with
Visit California through e-newsletters, social media, or their very
own copy of the California Visitor’s Guide.
The Amgen Tour of California
n its sixth year as a premiere sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California,
Visit California expanded its exposure with a high impact media
partnership with NBC and NBC Sports Network. This year, the Tour
was broadcast for the first time on NBC Sports Network, reaching
more than 11 million viewers in 216 countries. In addition to its longstanding sponsorship program, Visit California invested more heavily
in broadcast elements, including pre-show coverage, custom vignettes,
on-screen fast facts about each destination, and commercials and HD
footage promoting California travel destinations along the route.
Year in review 201 1–2012
California Hall of Fame
isit California’s newest sponsorship is the prestigious
California Hall of Fame, an annual state ceremony honoring
the pioneering and iconic Californians who are being
inducted into the California Museum’s Hall of Fame. The inductees
of the class of 2011 embodied the Golden State’s innovative spirit
and attitude that attracts travelers to California. Californians in the
2011 class included pilot and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, musicians The
Beach Boys, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn,
gang intervention expert Father Gregory Boyle, Gap founders
and philanthropists Doris and Donald Fisher, NBA superstar and
entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson, independent living pioneer
Ed Roberts, guitarist Carlos Santana, novelist Amy Tan, and
California Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Traynor.
At the event, Visit California celebrity spokesman Rob Lowe
opened the ceremony by recalling his family’s journey across the
country in a station wagon to the Golden State and celebrating
the inductees, saying “They are the heart and soul of California.
They make California the one-of-a-kind, inspirational destination
that it is.”
Potential viewership included Comcast Hometown’s 2.4 million
Web and Mobile
Visit California continues to
optimize its digital platform.
This year, Visit California saw
unprecedented traffic on, introduced
its mobile site and iPad app,
and leveraged its social media
community to boost the brand’s
visibility and vitality.
V is the primary online
consumer gateway in the U.S. and Canada
and the foundation of Visit California’s
digital strategy. In addition to,
Visit California’s twelve international domains
share marketing messages and destination
information in nine different languages. For all
of the sites, Google Analytics tracks visits and
page views, enabling Visit California to assess
the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and
promotions and monitor impressions in real-time.
This year, received more than
3.1 million unique visitors, a 27 percent increase
over the previous year. In total, 4.4 million
consumers viewed Visit California’s global
domains, an increase of more than 14.6 percent.
Year in review 201 1–2012
Going Mobile
s more and
more consumers
adopt mobile
platforms each year,
Visit California has seen
increasing demand
for travel content on
smartphones and other
mobile devices. This
year, Visit California
unveiled its free iPad
app and launched the
mobile site.
The new mobile site — available on
all smartphone platforms — puts
the latest information on what to
do and see in California in the palm
of the consumer’s hand. Travelers
can use the mobile site and the app
to access current and compelling
information about California
destinations, whether they are
dreaming about a California
getaway while in line at the
grocery store or are already in the
Golden State looking for their next
adventure. From their smartphones,
visitors can quickly browse
must‑see destinations,
create customized
itineraries, find travel
guides, and access
Google maps showing
the locations of hundreds
of recommendations,
insider tips, and
California Welcome
Frequent travelers
are early adopters
of tablet technology,
which allows Visit California to
combine the comprehensive
content and visually stunning
photography of print publishing
with the convenience and speed
of computer interactivity. The
Visit California iPad app includes
robust mapping capabilities,
leverages Visit California’s
digital library of publications,
and seamlessly integrates with
social networks. And thus far,
half of the app’s downloads have
been from overseas consumers,
one of Visit California’s priority
consumer groups.
Social Media
hrough social media, Visit California has
cultivated a vibrant, interactive online community.
With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and new
platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, Visit California
is creating conversations with its friends, fans, and
followers every day.
Earlier this year, the Visit California Facebook
transitioned into the new Facebook Timeline format.
Timeline is more organic and photo-driven, making the
social network even more engaging. With Timeline,
photos have more visual impact, grabbing users’
attention more readily and enabling Visit California to
spotlight news, photos, videos, and announcements
more easily. The updated site has garnered new fans
and started hundreds of online exchanges between
Visit California and potential travelers. The Facebook
fan base now includes 43,878 people, a 145 percent
increase over the previous year.
To take full advantage of Timeline’s new Milestones
feature, Visit California asked Facebook fans to upload
a photo of their personal “California Milestone Moment”
for a chance to win branded California merchandise.
The contest engaged the current fan base, drove
acquisition of new fans, and generated conversations
about California destinations. During the 21-day
campaign, “California Milestone Moments” grew the
Facebook fan base by 9,035 people (33.2 percent) and
the weekly reach to 2,119,005 people — a staggering
6,619 percent increase.
Visit California also established a consistent message
across all of its media channels. To better reflect the
Visit California brand, the Twitter page was rebranded
from @CATourism to @VisitCA. The Twitter feed
publicized campaigns like “California Milestone
Moments,” supported industry partners by retweeting
selected posts from their sites, and directed web
coverage to This year, the number of
followers increased 26 percent to 14,741.
New Social Platforms
isit California continues to monitor new trends in the
digital social scene and when appropriate, incorporate
up-and-coming platforms into its online strategy. Visit
California added two new photo-oriented platforms this year:
Pinterest and Instagram.
Both platforms allow their users to share and comment on
posted pictures. Pinterest is an online bulletin board where
users share pictures and graphics that interest and inspire
them. Pinterest is a natural space to showcase California’s
incredible destinations and Visit California’s riveting brand
imagery. Instagram, a hugely popular smartphone app, enables
users to apply filters to their photos and share images with
friends via social networking. Now, Visit California can share
its favorite shots of California with Pinterest and Instagram
audiences, broadening the reach of existing visual content
and driving viewers to our Facebook page, Twitter, and
enthusiasts can
also interact
with Visit California
through the consumer
e-newsletter program.
The email newsletter
communicates directly
with 350,000 opt-in
consumers, delivering
targeted information
about California special
events and programs and
linking to Visit California’s
digital platforms and
travel tools.
Cooperative Promotions
Family Attractions
his summer, three of California’s most loved
family attractions launched all-new reasons to
come to the Golden State — Manta at SeaWorld
San Diego, Transformers: The Ride–3D at Universal
Studios Hollywood and Cars Land at Disney California
Adventure. To leverage increased family travel to these
exciting new destinations, Visit California published a
family-themed California Road Trips 2012, continued to
promote its industry partners and their attractions with
the California Fun Spots campaign, and launched the
Summer of Fun advertising campaign online.
The 2012 edition of California Road Trips, produced in
partnership with Sunset Magazine, celebrates the family
road trip. Each of California’s 12 designated tourism
regions gets the spotlight in a Road Trips itinerary,
encouraging travelers to explore every corner of the
state. The result is an engaging and useful guide that
helps dispel the myth that California is too big to enjoy
in just a few days. This year’s guide makes the most
of the more than $2 billion in capital improvements to
California’s theme parks, showcasing family-oriented
activities, attractions, and destinations. In addition to
being published in Sunset Magazine, Road Trips was
featured in the Visit California iPad app and integrated
into the digital platform. The guide features insider tips
and recommendations from Visit California’s Facebook
fans and provides links to more regional content and
social networking.
In its twenty-fourth successful year, California
Fun Spots is now the longest running cooperative
marketing program in Visit California’s history.
Fun Spots promotes California attractions through
enhanced listings and online savings coupons available
online at The program
extends the reach of individual attractions’ marketing
Year in review 201 1–2012
efforts, providing exposure to regional, national, and
international audiences. This year, Visit California built
upon the Fun Spots platform with the Summer of Fun
campaign, developed in partnership with SeaWorld,
Universal Studios, Disneyland, City Pass, and Cirque du
Soleil’s Iris. The Summer of Fun cooperative campaign
is an online initiative utilizing display advertising and
interactive media to promote the exciting new family
attractions opening this summer in California. The
campaign asks “Are you ready for this much fun?”
in display advertising, a “fun face” online game, and
social media content. The program launched in June
and is supported through Visit California’s owned and
earned channels, magnifying the impact of the paid
advertising component.
Restaurant Month
t’s not often that a sequel outdoes the original, but
California Restaurant Month’s (CRM) second year was
one of the rare exceptions, featuring 28 destinations
(up from 23 last year.) This year’s CRM offered more
opportunities for visitors to enjoy California’s finest
restaurants and eateries at an incredible value, from
gourmet prix fixe menus to California wine pairings and
meals prepared by the state’s most famous celebrity chefs.
Visitation to the CRM website was up 29 percent this year
and the campaign made more than 35.8 million media
impressions with $2.06 million in media value.
In addition to regional placements statewide, Visit
California made several notable national placements
on,,, and the Cable
Radio News Network. Former “Top Chef”
contestant Fabio Viviani, who owns Café
Firenze and Firenze Osteria in the Los Angeles
area, also appeared on “Good Morning
America” on January 27 and praised fresh
California ingredients while cooking Italian
wedding soup. His segment alone reached
5.1 million people, with an advertising value
of approximately $230,000.
Welcome Centers
he California Welcome Center (CWC) program had
another successful year in 2011–12. Visit California’s CWCs
act as a source for statewide visitor information and
encourage travelers to extend their stay in the Golden State.
CWC staff serve as personal concierges for all aspects of
California travel by providing destination, attraction, performing
arts, and accommodations brochures from throughout the
state, along with reservation services, Internet access, regional
and California merchandise, and ticket sales.
Rural Integration
isit California has
made a dedicated
effort to increase
exposure for California’s
eight rural regions. During
television production
for the Royal Visit
campaign, Visit California
developed a second long
term commercial. Shot in all eight rural regions, “Out There”
complements Visit California’s brand television campaign
by adding a new layer of messaging highlighting the state’s
abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreation. Thus
far, the “Out There” spot’s performance has been incredibly
strong in both the U.S. and Canada.
This year, Visit California celebrated increased visitation at its
twenty CWCs. June 2012 visitor counts were 18.6 percent higher
than last year’s. With the addition of the newest Buena Park and
Salinas CWCs, the number of visitors that passed through the
doors of the CWC network reached 1.5 million during the 2011–12
fiscal year, a 10 percent increase over the 2010–11 fiscal year.
Golden State Sponsor
China Ready
alifornia is the top U.S. destination for Chinese visitors, and the
improving visa application process and increase in air service
to the Golden State makes California even more accessible to
Chinese travelers. In 2011, more that 517,000 Chinese visitors traveled
to California, an almost 30 percent increase over 2010. While the
average spending for overseas visitors to California is $1,209 per visitor,
travelers from China spent more than twice that ($2,652) in 2010.
This year, Visit California launched China Ready, an educational
platform designed to prepare the state’s tourism industry for growing
numbers of Chinese tourists. Through the China Ready initiative, Visit
California provides educational tools and resources to help support
the state’s tourism industry as they welcome increasing numbers of
Chinese travelers. Visit California also works with the travel trade in
China to build a corps of “California Experts” who are familiar with the
state’s activities and destinations, from the well-known icons to the
off‑the-beaten path experiences.
Celebrating Chinese New Year in California
Held for the second consecutive year, the Chinese New Year
Promotion 2012 featured 20 Chinese tour groups exploring six
different itineraries across California, with highlights including
San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. More than 650
participants experienced the very best of California during a
10‑day tour that covered the state’s major tourism destinations.
To promote the Chinese New Year trips, Visit California China
launched a marketing campaign that included radio placements
in 15 provinces and trainings for tour operators. With the U.S.
Embassy, Visit California China set up a Group Leisure Travel
stream to make applying for visas for the trip more convenient
for Chinese travelers. Here in California, Visit California China
worked with the state’s tour operators and vendors to create
an incredible tourism product, including a New Year’s dumpling
dinner and a private fireworks show at Disneyland.
Year in review 201 1–2012
100 Colors
n 2011, more that 560,000 Japanese visitors
explored California, making it the state’s third
largest overseas market. Japanese travelers
spent $425 million in California in 2010, with
each visitor spending more than $1200.
The 100 Colors campaign in the Japanese market
is a digital promotion designed to deepen
consumer understanding of the California brand.
Visitors to the site — which was aimed at women
age 20–30 — could build their own virtual tour
from a catalogue of 60 California attractions, have
their travel “fortune” told (and new destinations
suggested) by the Travel Color Fortune-Telling
game, and register for a giveaway coordinated
with industry partners H.I.S. and United and
California brands Beringer and Patagonia. The
campaign was accompanied by social media
promotion on Facebook, twitter, and mixi
(a Japanese social network), driving visitors to
the 100 Colors site and to the main Visit California
landing page. Since the site’s launch, unique users
have increased by 129 percent.
South Korea:
California Road
ast year, 410,000 visitors from South
Korea traveled to the Golden State.
In 2010, Korean travelers spent
approximately $488 million in California.
The California Road site is the main platform
for Visit California Korea’s “California:
6 Nights 7 Days” campaign, which inspires
Korean visitors to plan their own week in the
Golden State. In six episodes focused on six
different audiences (foodies, families, female
office workers, celebrities, road trippers, and
romantics and honeymooners), the microsite
targets Visit California’s core consumers in
Korea. In “Chef Edward Kwon’s California
Gourmet Tour” or “Cool Girls Exploring Hot
California,” Korean audience can find the trip that
is exactly right for them. And since Visit California
Korea developed sample itineraries with travel
agents and rental car companies in California and
Korea, the site’s viewers can plan their own seven
days in California with the click of a mouse.
In addition to strong viewership (over 73,000
visitors viewed the site in the last six months
of 2011), the California Road microsite won the
prestigious WebAward Korea for the third year
in a row.
United Kingdom:
California Classics
he United Kingdom is California’s largest
overseas market, with 702,000 visitors in 2011
and $731 million in spending in 2010.
Visit California’s California Classics film screenings
reach a sophisticated, urban audience that
responds to innovative marketing techniques rather
than traditional tourism marketing. Screenings of
classic California films capitalize on UK consumers’
love for American celebrity and pop culture, while
showcasing the destinations themselves.
In the 2011 California Classics season, Visit
California worked with Future Cinema to create two
spectacular cinematic events based on the films
Top Gun and The Lost Boys. The locations featured
in these two movies were rebuilt on the banks of
the River Thames, effectively transporting London
moviegoers to a San Diego “Fighter Town” and the
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Year in review 201 1–2012
Following the success of the 2011 season, Visit
California launched a second season in 2012 to
bring film-loving consumers deeper into the
California brand. Four classic films were selected
for their cult and cultural appeal and their ability
to showcase California through their locations
and characters:
Milk: San Francisco
Bullitt: San Francisco and the Bay Area
Chinatown: Los Angeles and Catalina Island
Sideways: Santa Ynez Valley/Santa Barbara Wine
All of the films were introduced by UK television
presenter and DJ Alex Zane and preceded
by the recently refreshed “Misconceptions II”
commercial starring Rob Lowe. The campaign and
its accompanying social media program reached
a total of 1.8 million consumers, resulted in 10,907
ticket applications, doubled the campaign’s
Facebook audience, and motivated countless
tourists to plan a California trip of their own.
Hungry for California
n 2011, 423,000 German travelers made the trip to California.
This year, Visit California offered German diners a taste
of California in 700 Eurest canteens, cooking up menus
designed to evoke a feeling of California’s sunny and
delicious destinations during the cold German winter. As they
devoured California cuisine, diners perused restaurant materials
developed by Visit California’s German office that reinforced
California’s reputation as a leading food and wine destination
and showcased additional travel experiences from arts and
culture to outdoor recreation. Visit California also partnered
with CANUSA Touristik to create a distinctive culinary travel
giveaway for two and a raffle of other California‑themed
prizes, including cookbooks. The culinary campaign reached
more than 2.2 million German consumers.
Visit California and Lufthansa
Visit California counts Germany’s Lufthansa among its airline partners.
As Germany’s leading airline, Lufthansa carries about 60 million
passengers annually, with daily air service to Los Angeles and
San Francisco. It has seen a 30 percent increase in the number of
passengers to SFO since it added a flight using an Airbus A380 in May
2011. Visit California engages Lufthansa guests by reaching out to them
when they are planning their trips at home, in Lufthansa airport lounges
and on board Lufthansa aircrafts.
Visit California partnered with DERTOUR — the No. 1 German-U.S. tour
operator — to create travel deals and content to inspire a German
audience. In Lufthansa frequent flier lounges, first-class, business-class,
and other priority travelers find the German edition of the California
Visitors Guide alongside their favorite newspapers and magazines. And
on board, business class travelers receive a Visit California mini‑flier
with their meals. The informative and engaging flier is the perfect
size to take with you after the flight, becoming a miniature guide to
California. Placements in Lufthansa magazines, lounges, digital banners,
and plane cabins have a reach of 7.64 million.
Culinary California
ustralia is California’s second largest
source of overseas visitors, surpassing
Japan in 2011. 563,000 Australians
visited California last year, a 12 percent increase
over 2010.
The Culinary California campaign featuring
celebrity chef Michael Moore informed Australian
consumers about California’s world-class
culinary culture and differentiated the state’s
dining reputation from negative perceptions of
“American” food.
In November, Visit California launched the first
phase of the campaign, including an integrated
sponsorship of “Junior MasterChef Australia,”
a four-week consumer promotion on Facebook,
a targeted Facebook advertising campaign,
and digital and SEO advertising on news- and
Year in review 201 1–2012
travel‑oriented sites such as BBC Worldwide,
NineMSN, Yahoo!AU, and Tripadvisor. In the
campaign’s second phase, Moore served as a
culinary ambassador in four new California cuisine
videos, which were posted on Visit California’s
Australian Web site and distributed on paid video
networks. Moore also shared personal messages
about California for Avant Card post cards,
which Visit California distributed at various wine
and food events and featured on online display
banners and e-cards.
Initial results indicate that the campaign far
surpassed expectations, delivering a total of
39,040 clicks to the Visit California website
(almost 10,000 more than expected) and
click through rates of nearly 20 percent, with
an average total reach across publisher sites
of 2,973,141.
Engaging Industry
ore than 6.8 million visitors are estimated
to have traveled to California from Mexico
in 2011, with approximately 476,000 of
them arriving by air. Total spending in 2011 by
Mexican visitors was greater than $1.7 billion, a
more than 30 percent increase over 2010.
The latest component of Visit California’s
marketing strategy in Mexico is the formation
of the California-Mexico Advisory Committee
(CMAC). The committee — made up of seven highlevel executives from leading travel companies in
Mexico — will share expertise and guidance on the
ever-changing Mexican travel market, the leading
source of international visitors to the Golden
State. Insights from these key influencers will be
used by Visit California’s Mexican team to develop
short- and long‑term strategies for increasing sales
and visitation to California.
CMAC’s inaugural meeting was held in San
Francisco February 2–4, 2012 and showcased
California as a destination to executives from
Koch Overseas, American Express, Corporate
Travel, Vimsa Tours, Latin Holdings, Viajes Olin,
and Profesionales en Convenciones. Visit California
plans to hold two annual CMAC meetings in
California and two meetings in Mexico each year
with Visit California Mexico staff. Annual meetings
will be held at various locations throughout the
state in order to expand product knowledge
among the key tour operators.
Following the first CMAC meeting, Visit California’s
Mexico staff provided a Mexico market update
for 45 Northern California DMOs and suppliers to
share insights with industry members and assist
their individual marketing efforts.
The total travel-related
spending by visitors from
Mexico in 2011 was $1.7 billion,
a more than 30 percent
increase over 2010.
Message from Vice Chair of Operations and Industry Relations
“Becoming Superman”
Kathy Turner
Vice Chair of
Vice President —
Legislative and
Government Affairs,
Enterprise Holdings
e titled our new Five-Year
Strategic Business Plan “It’s
a Word…It’s a Plane…” to
call attention to the heroic
impact of California’s tourism industry on
the state’s economy. Traveler spending —
an unprecedented $102.3 billion in
2011 — directly supports more than
4 percent of California’s jobs. Last year,
total travel-related employment in the
state increased by 1.5 percent, putting
14,000 more Californians to work in one
of the state’s most important industries.
Over the next five years, Visit California will
prioritize shedding the travel and tourism
industry’s “Clark Kent” image and elevating
recognition of the value it contributes to
the Golden State — becoming Superman
in the eyes of California residents,
policymakers, and thought leaders.
Visit California’s momentum is driven
by our travel industry partnerships,
particularly collaboration with our
community of assessed businesses.
Every event and program featured in this
Year in Review is built upon the innovative
ideas and efforts of destinations,
attractions, associations, and businesses
that are committed to ensuring that
California remains one of the most loved,
admired, and visited places on earth.
Visit California is dedicated to providing
our stakeholders with first-class marketing
opportunities, cutting-edge research,
Year in review 201 1–2012
and other resources aimed at introducing
California to audiences across the globe.
To that end, we revitalized the industry
field representative program to facilitate
more one-on-one connections with
assessed businesses. Through improved
feedback mechanisms, updated and
informative presentations, and new
mapping tools to track onsite visits, Visit
California is working to ensure that our
industry partners receive accurate, timely,
and relevant information.
This year, Visit California also showcased
Why Travel Matters to our state leaders
and shared stories from the Golden State
with media all over the world. Speaker
of the Assembly John Pérez co-led our
delegation to the World Travel Market
in London to celebrate the launches of
Brand USA and the California-centric
documentary Dreamland. We hosted soldout media receptions in Los Angeles, New
York, and Toronto and launched a new
Online Media Center.
With the ongoing implementation of
the Five-Year Strategic Business Plan,
Visit California will continue to strengthen
our partnerships and programs on
behalf of California’s bold and dynamic
tourism industry.
“Over the next five years, Visit California will prioritize shedding
the travel and tourism industry’s ‘Clark Kent’ image and elevating
recognition of the value it contributes to the Golden State.”
—Kathy Turner, Vice President, Legislative and Government Affairs, Enterprise Holdings;
Vice Chair of Operations, Visit California
Californians’ unique
approach to life…we
live life to the fullest
The best of
all in one place
A place like
no other
Industry Engagement
California Marketing
Outlook Forum
Visit California gathers its travel and tourism partners
together at the annual California Marketing Outlook Forum
to learn about what’s new in Visit California’s marketing
programs and in the global marketplace. Through
dynamic speakers, informative panels, and special events,
Visit California helps its partners enhances their next
marketing moves in the California tourism industry.
Highlights from the Forum
Roger Dow, President and CEO of the
U.S. Travel Association, encouraged
the California travel industry to
advocate for travel-friendly policies and
discussed national efforts — including
recent moves by the Obama
administration — to tear down barriers
that impede travel to the U.S.
Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of
Visit California and Chair of Brand USA,
used the analogy of a three-legged
stool to describe how the U.S. travel
industry is supported by the USTA’s
advocacy, the policy recommendations
of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory
Board and the upcoming national
marketing promotions by Brand USA.
Year in review 201 1–2012
At the Policymakers
Forum, Visit California
Vice Chair of Operations
Kathy Turner, who
is Vice President,
Legislative and
Government Affairs, at
Enterprise Holdings,
moderated a panel
discussion with seven
of California’s top trade
association executives.
The panel covered
the latest legislation,
policies, and court cases
involving travel issues.
Mark Liberman, a Visit California Board Member and President
of The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, led a panel
discussion that tied together President Obama’s efforts to ease
entry for travelers from China and what California needs to do to
meet the needs of Chinese travelers. Panelists were Todd Davidson,
Chair of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board and CEO of the
Oregon Tourism Commission, and Dr. Zhihang Chi, Vice President
and General Manager of North America for Air China.
Jay Baer, President and CEO of Convince & Convert, moderated a
panel on current developments in social media that can take travelrelated programs from good to great. The panel included Rachel
Salberg, Senior YouTube Specialist for Google Travel; Matt Thomson,
Vice President of Business Development and Platform for Klout; and
Christine Trodella, Sales Manager at Facebook.
Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics and
a Member of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory
Board, provided global economic research
and information on markets that represent
opportunities for California travel and tourism.
The Industry Recognition Dinner featured the 2012 Excellence in
Tourism Marketing Awards — the highest accolades for tourism
promotions in California.
Joe D’Alessandro, a Visit California Board
Member and President and CEO of the San
Francisco Travel Association, moderated
the International Office Panel, featuring
representatives from Visit California’s
twelve global offices. The conversation
focused on international market trends, new
cooperative marketing opportunities, and
upcoming programs.
International Pow Wow 2012
On the heels of a record year in tourism expenditures boosted by strong
international visitation and the launch of Brand USA, Visit California
is keenly focused on the global horizon. Hosting two consecutive
Pow Wows — the U.S.A.’s top international travel trade show — in the
Golden State adds to that global momentum.
he U.S. Travel Association’s International
Pow Wow was held in Los Angeles in late
April 2012 and in San Francisco the previous
May. As a direct result of the double-header,
Visit California anticipates $800 million in new
international expenditures through 2016 across the
Golden State. Visit California, along with California
representatives from more than 200 travel-related
companies and destinations, maximized this
opportunity to influence a captive audience of the
world’s travel media and top buyers of U.S. travel
products. Headquarters staff and global office
representatives met with 325 tour operators and
“As a direct result of hosting consecutive
Pow Wows in California in 2011 and 2012,
Visit California expects $800 million
in new travel-related international
expenditures through 2016.”
Year in review 201 1–2012
journalists during scheduled appointments at its
prime booth location, and Visit California’s media
marketplace traffic doubled over the previous year.
As a co-host of the event with the Los Angeles
Tourism and Convention Board, Visit California
secured high visibility branding throughout the
convention center and at official evening networking
events, attended by thousands of travel trade and
media. The Club California space facilitated additional
visibility and networking with daily happy hours and a
mixology seminar for media.
Following the show, Visit California co-hosted
familiarization tours for trade and media at eight
destinations: San Diego, Mammoth Mountain,
Yosemite, Central Coast, Route 66, Anaheim/OC,
San Francisco and Palm Springs. 178 participants
from more than 40 countries were in attendance.
To give these key consumer influencers more product
knowledge, the tour itineraries focused on new
elements in well-traveled gateway cities and hidden
gem rural destinations.
Travel Trade
During fiscal year 2011–12, Visit California organized nearly 250 familiarization tours
and hosted more than 1,000 travel trade and media representatives. Visit California
also attended trade shows and trade missions all over the world to promote the
California brand.
n November, Visit California led an 80-person
delegation — the largest in the event’s history — to
the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. Held
annually, the WTM is the international travel industry’s
largest business-to-business exhibition, a four-day event
that links buyers, sellers and government officials. The
delegation included California State Assembly Speaker
John Pérez and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson,
pictured below with Caroline Beteta, as well as industry
leaders from destinations and attractions throughout
the state, Visit California’s European representatives,
and extraordinary “True Californian” brand ambassadors.
Visit California kicked off the trip to WTM with the
star-studded world premiere of Dreamland at the
Royal Opera House, attended by the UK’s top travel
executives, buyers and media. Visit California also
celebrated the launch of Brand USA’s new corporate
identity and marketing strategy with the entire U.S.
delegation and key international travel trade and media
at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
travel trade, media and retail industry representatives
during the Australia Sales Mission. In September, Visit
California participated in the U.S. Travel Association’s
India Mission and sent a delegation to the International
French Travel Market Top Resa, France’s premiere
annual international travel and tourism trade fair.
In October, Visit California organized a mission to
Brazil that included an exclusive Visit California prime
positioning booth at the largest annual trade event in
Latin America, ABAV; a media and tour reception in
Rio de Janeiro; and a tour operators’ luncheon in São
Paulo. The following month, Visit California attended
SHOWCASE USA–ITALY, the only marketing exhibition
exclusively dedicated to promote Italian tourism to
the United States. Visit California also took part in the
Discover America Workshop Copenhagen, where the
delegation met with 200 key travel trade and media.
In February, Visit California participated in the Go West
Summit, the premier business-oriented travel trade
show selling the American West. Go West brings
together the world’s top international tour operators
with specialty suppliers who offer travel products in
thirteen of America’s western states. Visit California
delegates met with 34 companies and distributed leads
to the 50 California companies in attendance.
In March, Visit California led a robust delegation of
20 industry partners to the International Tourism Fair
(ITB) travel trade show in Berlin, which featured Visit
California’s largest booth ever for the show. ITB Berlin
draws 10,644 exhibiting companies and organizations
from 180 countries as well as 113,006 travel industry
visitors and 60,000 consumers. Visit California and its
California partners hosted more than 200 appointments
with all major tour operators. They discussed co-ops,
events, and other marketing programs, resulting in new
opportunities to increase international visitation to
California. During the show, Visit California distributed
3,000 German-language visitor guides, 3,000 California
maps, 500 international visitor’s guides and 500 of the
official delegation collateral piece. Visit California also
celebrated with the documentary Dreamland as it won
in the “Event” category of the Golden City Gate Awards.
Over the course of the year, Visit California visited a
number of other key international markets for travel
trade shows and sales missions. In August of 2011,
18 California industry suppliers met with key Australian
Media and Communications
Online Media Center
n March, Visit California unveiled the new Online Media Center,, offering compelling content and
comprehensive media resources that are easy to search and
share. The new site helps Visit California deliver content and
news to media around the world 365 days a year. New features
like “Share This” will allow media to broadcast our content
instantly to their social channels. The site is also equipped for
content sharing across Visit California’s international offices
and will support the global PR team in their day-to-day media
servicing and pitch development. In addition, the Online Media
Center allows Visit California to maximize industry content
submissions and surface product news and story ideas on an
ongoing basis. Ultimately, Visit California plans to phase out
digital press kits on USB and move all press information to the
Online Media Center.
since launch
Number of Web Visits
Unique Visitors
March 2012
Year in review 201 1–2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
Media Receptions
isit California’s media receptions are designed
to connect California destinations and tourism
businesses with key travel media, driving
increased interest in California and providing a forum for
California delegates to showcase their story ideas and
products. The media receptions held in Los Angeles,
New York, and Toronto introduced more than 213
reporters and members of the media to California’s
destinations and attractions. They learned first-hand
about developments at dozens of Golden State
destinations and the latest statewide programs being
offered by Visit California — including the new media
portal and media kits.
The Los Angeles event attracted 58 key consumer,
lifestyle, and travel media personnel from outlets like
Travel + Leisure and Johnny Jet. In New York City,
89 members of the media were in attendance from
outlets such as Brides, CSM, New York Daily News,
and Reuters. In Toronto, Visit California met with
66 members of the Canadian media, including Globe &
Mail, City TV, Discovery Channel, and the Toronto Star.
Los Angeles
New York
Press Tours
uring the 2011–12 fiscal year, Visit California
organized nearly 250 media familiarization
tours, hosting almost 1,000 travel trade
and media representatives throughout all twelve
of California’s regions. A total of 287 international
journalists participated in 204 individual trips and
19 group gatherings.
One of these group trips was the “Rock On! California”
tour, which generated buzz with the “Cultured Explorer”
demographic in Australia and the UK and reinforced
the state’s reputation as the entertainment and
celebrity capitol of the world. “Rock On! California”
brought eleven top-tier journalists (on assignment for
more than 20 outlets) to the iconic Coachella Valley
Music & Arts Festival, the leading music festival in the
country. Coachella’s broad program of emerging and
top‑of‑the‑charts artists, from the hottest rock and indie
acts to hip hop legends and dance music pioneers, was
a hit for visiting journalists and their audiences.
To amp up social media coverage during the tour, Visit
California loaned iPhones to all of the visiting journalists
and promised the reporter from each market that
created the most social media buzz a return trip back
to CA. More than 800 tweets, countless retweets, and
more than 500 Facebook posts created hundreds of
thousands of impressions. All posts were shared on
Visit California Australia’s web sites, engaging more
than 400,000 users. More than 20 upcoming print and
online placements are confirmed from the trip, with an
anticipated reach of over 10 million and forecasted paid
ad value for at least $1 million.
Visit California organized nearly
250 media familiarization tours and
hosted almost 1,000 travel trade and
media representatives throughout
all twelve of California’s regions.
Year in review 201 1–2012
Public Affairs
Throughout the year, Visit California continued
to communicate Why Travel Matters to state and
federal officials.
t the state level, those efforts
resulted in increased collaboration
with Speaker of the Assembly
John Pérez. Following a Dreamlandfocused presentation by Visit California
last summer, the Speaker attended
Visit California’s fall board meeting and
addressed the board members at an
evening reception. Focusing on Why
Travel Matters from a jobs perspective,
Speaker Pérez then accompanied the Visit
California team to the World Travel Market
in London to celebrate the launches of
both Brand USA and Dreamland.
In order to continue to unify the industry
as members advocate for their businesses
with California’s state government, Visit
California held a facilitated planning
session with industry association heads to
identify collaborative goals and performed
a SWOT analysis of their operating
environments. Following the meeting, Visit
California produced a draft white paper
to help them speak with one voice when
working with legislative leaders and staff.
Over the course of the year, the travel and
tourism industry has received increasing
national attention. In January, President
Barack Obama issued an executive order
calling for a national strategy to promote
growth in the travel and tourism industry
and unveiling a new plan to ease entry
requirements for international visitors.
California will benefit from streamlined
visa processes for visitors from China,
Brazil, and our other global markets,
driving further growth for our industry
and California’s economy.
Finally, this year saw the launch of
Brand USA at the 2011 World Travel
Market. Visit California assisted with
the development of a launch platform
for the event and contributed to the
successful and well-attended brand
reveal. Visit California looks forward
to working with its new Brand USA
partners to develop co-marketing
and other collaborative programs to
welcome international visitors to America
and the Golden State.
This year, the travel
and tourism industry
received increasing
attention from
state and national
government officials,
including Speaker of
the Assembly John
Pérez and President
Barack Obama.
Golden State Sponsor
Looking Ahead:
Priorities for 2012–13
Fiscal year 2012–13 is shaping up to be another exciting year for Visit
California. In addition to building upon this year’s successful marketing,
communications, financial, and administrative strategies, Visit California
looks forward to planning for the upcoming 2013 Referendum.
Fiscal year 2012–13 will be the second year of
implementation of the Five-Year Strategic Marketing
Plan. Over the course of the year, Visit California plans
to execute a $50 million global marketing initiative that
extends the reach of its existing creative, encompasses
all of California’s regions, and inspires visitors with
informative and innovative content. It will include:
In 2012–13, Visit California will extend the reach of
its communications and public relations efforts
with both consumers and assessed businesses.
A new Three-Year Global Marketing Plan, with
updated global creative platforms and online
integration of all digital assets, print, cooperative
marketing, and other international programs with
industry partners.
An integrated co-marketing program of work in
partnership with Brand USA.
A roadmap for the development of global web
infrastructure to support digital assets in all
local languages.
Promotional support for the Dreamland
documentary to further the California brand
with key international audiences.
The annual California Marketing Outlook Forum
to communicate key marketing and international
programs directly to industry leaders.
Visit California aspires to meet or exceed 2007–2011
averages of trackable impressions, incremental visits,
and spending generated by global advertising.
For California’s international markets, Visit
California will develop and execute a public
relations plan to support the global creative
marketing initiative. Domestically, Visit California
will develop a public relations plan to support
the national launch of Dreamland and integrate
consumer product content with the Why Travel
Matters message.
To continue to improve communication with
industry partners, Visit California plans to
redesign the business-to-business website
to align more effectively with the Five-Year
Strategic Business Plan. Visit California will
extend industry access to earned media
platforms, such as Visit California media events,
through improved registration processes.
Finance and Budget
Over the next fiscal year, Visit California plans
to implement an automated accounts payable
system, complete yet another successful
unqualified audit, and execute the recently
approved Foreign Exchange Policy.
Visit California will continue to strengthen
our partnerships and programs on behalf of
California’s bold and dynamic tourism industry.
Year in review 201 1–2012
Operations and Administration
During fiscal year 2012–13, Visit California will focus on
implementing the three strategies from the Five-Year
Strategic Business Plan:
Strategy 1:Reinforce Visit California’s Value to
Travel-Related Businesses
Strategy 2:Unify Industry Leaders to Raise the
Relevance of the Travel Industry
Strategy 3:Position Travel and Tourism to
Elevate California’s Overall Image
Visit California will continue to bolster the Industry
Representative Program and look for creative
strategies to engage the assessed business
community. Visit California will implement the
Top 600 award program to stay connected to
top assessed businesses on a yearly basis. Visit
California also plans to deliver program information
to the businesses that utilize the Office of Tourism
assessment process, aligning assessment collection
with marketing efforts. Visit California will work to
establish alternate ways for businesses with many
locations to more easily report their assessment
and train assessment staff on key talking points
delivered to assessed businesses during one-on-one
With the transition to the Governor’s Office of
Business and Economic Development, Visit California
will continue to monitor the leadership impact of the
Governor’s Reorganization Plan..
In order to establish new California Welcome
Centers in Yreka, Needles, and the Los Angeles area,
Visit California will issue a request for proposal to
solicit applications for the new locations.
Referendum 2013
very six years, Visit California
is required by the California
Tourism Marketing Act to
hold a referendum of its assessed
businesses. More than 5000
businesses will vote whether or not
to continue paying the California
Tourism Assessment Program, which
provides more than 99 percent of
Visit California’s funding. The last
referendum, held in 2007, resulted
in 91 percent approval, allocating
$50 million per year to marketing.
The previous referendum in 2001
received an 84 percent approval
rating with $12 million in annual
funding. Prior to that time, funding
was sporadic and market share was
In the spring of 2013, Visit California
will issue the required referendum,
and assessed businesses will
once again cast their ballots.
Overwhelming approval, of course,
is critical. The 2007 decision
allowed Visit California to grow
jobs in the state in a way that few
other sectors have achieved.
Visit California aims to complete
the 2013 referendum with an
approval rating of 91 percent or
higher, ensuring at least $50 million
Year in review 201 1–2012
for marketing initiatives in each
of the next six years. To achieve
this goal, Visit California must
ensure that travel business leaders
understand its role in the growth
of California tourism and vote to
support the California Tourism
Assessment Program once again.
Visit California selected Meridian
Pacific to assist with the referendum
campaign, and they are working
with a core Visit California
Referendum team to communicate
with assessed businesses about
the upcoming vote. Thus far,
Visit California has connected
with 71 percent of the Top 150
voters and 58 percent of the Top
600 voters, and implemented a
system to track their “yes” votes.
In 2012–13, Visit California will
continue to follow through with
the Referendum work plan and
coordinate key messages with the
public relations and campaign firms
to ensure maximum success. With
the support of assessed businesses
in the 2013 Referendum, Visit
California will secure the funding
it needs to maintain its forward
momentum on behalf of California’s
travel and tourism industry.
Golden State Sponsor
Visit California Commissioners
Visit California is comprised of 37 Commissioners from California’s 12 tourism
regions. Members represent five industry sectors: Accommodations, Restaurants
and Retail, Attractions and Recreation, Travel and Transportation Services and
Passenger Car Rental. Twenty‑four of the Commissioners are elected by assessed
California businesses, while 12 are governor-appointed; the 37th Commissioner is
the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency Secretary, who also
serves as the Visit California chair.
Brian P. Kelly
Caroline Beteta
Ed Fuller
Kathy Turner
Rusty Gregory
Acting Secretary
President & CEO,
Visit California
Chair, Brand USA
President and
Managing Director,
Marriott Lodging
Vice President,
Legislative and
Government Affairs,
Enterprise Holdings
Transportation and
Housing Agency
Chairman & CEO,
Mammoth Mountain
Ski Area, LLC
Governor appointed by region
Orange County
San Francisco Bay Area
Gold Country
North Coast
Los Angeles County
Central Coast
Jim Burba
Joe D’Alessandro
Lina Fat
Tom Klein
Mark Liberman
Cody Plott
President & Chief
Executive Officer
Director of
Food, Owner
President & COO
San Francisco
Travel Association
Frank Fat Inc.
Rodney Strong
Wine Estates
The Los Angeles
Tourism and
Convention Board
Pebble Beach
Inland Empire
Central Valley
High Sierra
San Diego County
Shasta Cascade
Gillian Zucker
Burba Hotel Network
Auto Club Speedway
Year in review 201 1–2012
Rick Anderson
Ian Carter
Jay Jamison
George Kalogridis
Julie Maurer
President, Global
Operations and
Chief Executive
Officer and
General Manager
Disney Anaheim
Vice President of
Sales & Marketing
Squaw Valley
Hilton Worldwide
Pismo Coast
Village Inc.
Walt Disney Parks
& Resorts
Lynn Mohrfeld
Sima Patel
Jeff Senior
John Wagnon
Terry Westrope
President & Chief
Executive Officer
Vice President,
Marketing & Sales
Vice President
of Marketing
Vice President
Casa Tropicana,
A Boutique
Beachfront Inn
Balaji Hotels
California Hotel &
Lodging Association
Fairmont Hotels
Ocean Park Hotels, Inc.
Heavenly Valley
Limited Partnership
Travel &
Jeff King
Jot Condie
Larry Kurzweil
Douglas Myers
Mike Gallagher
California Restaurant
President & Chief
Operating Officer
Co-Founder & CEO
King’s Seafood
Universal Studios
Zoological Society
of San Diego
Charles Coniglio
Bob Muhs
Roy Ritenour
Jonna Sabroff
Vice President
of Marketing &
Vice President,
Affairs & Counsel
Vice President,
Western Region
Dollar Thrifty
Automotive Group
Group, Inc.
The Hertz Corporation
Transportation Svc
Key Program Contacts
Email [email protected]
Visit California Executive Team
Caroline Beteta
Lynn Carpenter
Karin Fish
Brian Wright
President & CEO
Vice President
of Marketing
Vice President of
Operations and
Industry Relations
Senior Director of
Marketing & Communications Team
Leona Reed
Dan Mishell
Traci Ward
Antonette Eckert
Jennifer Montero
Senior Director
of International
Director of
Director of
Domestic Marketing
Director of
Asia Pacific
Director of
Australia & Latin
America Marketing
Dean Jacobberger
Gwynne Spann
Lilly Kimmelshue
Bryce McAnally
Daphne Lange
Director of
Travel Trade
Content Manager
Europe and India
Marketing Manager
Brand Advertising
Rural and Co-op
Marketing Manager
Jennifer Sweeney
Shannon Brooks
Rachel Veu
Public Relations
Public Relations
Media Relations
Year in review 201 1–2012
Operations & Industry Outreach
Matthew Sabbatini
Amber Luiz
Cris McLucas
Bianca Valdez
Ann Sullivan
Senior Director
of Finance, HR & IT
Exec Manager and
Commission Liaison
Tourism Assessment
Industry Relations
Industry Outreach
Coordinator &
Speakers Desk
Industry Representatives
Visit California Regional Marketing Representatives
Rebecca Almanza
Amy Blaschka
Nichole Farley
Maureen Sloan
Jonelle Tannahill
Kelly Yang
Southern California
San Francisco/
Bay Area
San Diego/
Orange County
Los Angeles
The California Travel and Tourism Commission, doing business as
Visit California, is a private nonprofit corporation formed in 1988 to
market California as a desirable tourism destination. Visit California works
in close coordination with California’s Division of Tourism — while Visit
California conducts marketing programs that drive visitation, the Division
of Tourism oversees the assessment program that helps to fund these
initiatives. Visit California serves as the industry leader for more than 100
statewide destination marketing organizations and more than 60 tourism
business districts. In partnership with the state’s travel and tourism
industry, Visit California aims to keep California top of mind as a premier
travel destination. For more information about Visit California and a free
California Visitor’s Guide, go to
Visit California Industry Outreach
July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012
Buena Park California Welcome
Center’s Grand Opening
California State Assembly
Ventura County Tourism Meeting
Mendocino County Lodging Association
Fort Bragg
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
Tourism Committee Meeting
Marin County Tourism Summit
San Rafael
Northern California Hotel & Lodging Conference
Santa Clara
Upstate California Economic
Development Council Meeting
Beale AFB
Outlet Marketing Association
New York, NY
Santa Barbara Outlook Forum
World Travel Market
23rd Annual Southern California Visitor
Industry Outlook Conference
CLIA Annual Meeting
North American Conference on Wine Tourism
St. Helena
Kern County Tourism Summit
Mono County Tourism & Film Commission Meeting
Mammoth Lakes
Mammoth Lakes Tourism Workshop
Mammoth Lakes
State of Nevada Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Las Vegas
North Lake Tahoe Resort
Association Ski Area Update
Tahoe City
Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association and
Redding Business Improvement District Meeting
San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference
Bureau Tourism Visionary Workshop
San Luis Obispo
International Tourism Management
Institute Symposium
Discover IE & Inland Empire
Tourism Council Meeting
San Bernardino
California Association of Bed & Breakfast
Inns InnSpire Conference & Trade Show
America’s Lodging Investment Summit
Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times Travel Show
Los Angeles
Central Coast Tourism Council’s Annual Retreat
Pismo Beach
International Tourism Marketing’s GoWest Summit
Henderson, NV
Leadership Vallejo’s Monthly Meeting
Visit California’s Winter Board
Meeting and Outlook Forum
San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce
Legislative Day Reception
California Academy of Sciences
Dreamland Showing
San Francisco
California Bus Association Northern
California Spring Membership Meeting
San Diego Convention & Visitor Bureau’s
2012 State of the Travel & Hospitality
Industry Annual Meeting
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Ocean
Day Legislative Reception
Napa Valley Community College’s Wine
Country Hospitality Symposium
St. Helena
San Luis Obispo County Tourism Business
Improvement District’s Quarterly Meeting
California Travel Association’s Board Meeting
Crescent City Chamber of Commerce’s
Content Submission Workshop
Yosemite Gateway Partners’ Quarterly Meeting
Fall River Valley Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Travel Association’s Pow Wow 2012
Calaveras CVB Tourism Luncheon
National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Show
San Diego Convention and Visitor Bureau’s
Hospitality Industry Conference
Year in review 201 1–2012
Los Angeles
Chicago, IL
Visit California’s Spring Board Meeting
Visit Oceanside’s Tourism Summit
Vacaville Convention and Visitors
Bureau’s Tourism Luncheon
Santa Monica CVB’s Tourism Rally Day
Orange County Tourism Council’s
Annual Tourism Conference
Shasta Cascade Wonderland
Association’s Tourism Summit
California Travel Association’s
California Travel Summit
National Airport Council’s Marketing
& Communications Conference
Travel and Tourism Research Association’s
International Annual Conference
Virginia Beach, VA
Request a Visit California speaker at [email protected]
Menlo Park
Sonoma, CA
Newport Beach
“Together, we are the collective voice of our industry
on the local, regional and national levels, and every
community, business and individual touched by travel
can attest to its power as an economic generator,
job creator and mind opener.”
— Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California;
Chair, Brand USA
Visit California
555 Capitol Mall
Suite 1100
Sacramento, California 95814
Year in Review
August 17–27
Australia/New Zealand Sales Mission
Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland
September 9–14
Brand USA India Trade Mission
September 18–21
Top Resa IFTM
Paris, France
September 20–27
California SuperFam
UK and Ireland
October 12
Visit California Fall Board Meeting
October 13–15
Travel Scene Australia Conference
Santa Monica
October 22–29
ABAV & CA Sales Day
Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo — Brazil
October 23
Visit California Media Event
San Francisco
October 23–27
Italy Meets Northern California
Northern California
November 5–8
World Travel Market
London, UK
November 11–18
China Sales Mission
Beijing, Shanghai — China
January (entire month)
California Restaurant Month
January 20–24
NTA Convention
Orlando, Florida
January 28–31
Go West Summit
Fort Worth, Texas
February TBD
Visit California Media Lunch
Vancouver, Canada
February 13–21
Discover America Expos
Australia, Canada
February 20
Visit California Winter Board Meeting
San Francisco
February 21
Visit California Outlook Forum
San Francisco
March 4
Discover America Workshop
Copenhagen, Denmark
March 5–6
Showcase Italy
March 19
Visit California Media Reception
New York, New York
April 15–19
Japan & Korea Sales Mission
Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul
April 23–25
World Travel Market — Latin America
San Paulo
Visit California Spring Board Meeting
Visit California Media Reception
Toronto, Canada
Amgen Tour of California
May 4–12
National Tourism Week
Country Wide USA
May 6–9
Arabian Travel Market
Dubai, UAE
June TBD
Visit California Mexico Sales Mission
Mexico City, Guadalajara
June 8–12
Pow Wow
Las Vegas, Nevada
State of California
Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Visit California
Caroline Beteta
President & CEO
Karin Fish
Vice President of Operations
and Industry Relations
Brian Wright
Senior Director of Communications
Year in Review is an annual publication of
Visit California. Articles contained in the
Year in Review may be reproduced without
permission (though acknowledgement
is appreciated.) Please direct all
inquiries and correspondence to:
Visit California
California Travel and
Tourism Commission
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1100
Sacramento, CA 95814
Tel: (916) 444-4429
Fax: (916) 444-0410
E-mail: [email protected]
©2012 Visit California