SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California tourism officials are taking the
first step toward an interactive TV channel that would promote
travel to the state and enable viewers to book their vacations as
they watch television.
Caroline Beteta, executive director of the California Travel and
Tourism Commission, said it is expected to take at least four years
to develop the 24-hour interactive TV channel, dubbed The
Beteta called the concept "the next big thing" in the state's
tourism marketing efforts.
Beteta said the venture would be operated by a nonprofit
organization, which would be set up after $15 million is raised
from private industry to support the start of the channel, she
She said a business model for the channel is being developed by
the commission, which is funded by public and private money.
The commission's goal is to have the channel running by 2006, by
which time it is expected that TV and Internet technology will have
converged and millions of consumers worldwide will have the ability
to view hundreds of channels and book their travel online, she
Programming could include old TV shows shot in the state, such
as "Baywatch" and "Streets of San Francisco," and new
Travel agencies in the state previously have opposed some of the
state's other marketing efforts, such as a booking engine linked to
the state's Web site, claiming it is inappropriate for state
resources to be used to bypass travel agencies.