SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's largest travel and
tourism-related businesses agreed to continue the state's unique
public-private partnership to promote tourism -- for at least
another two years.
Some 1,400 companies that participate in the three-year old
California Tourism Marketing Act recently voted by an 84% to 16%
margin to extend the program, which includes an annual assessment
to fund tourism promotion.
Under the act, firms in California with more than $1 million in
annual sales derived from travel and tourism are assessed $450 for
each $1 million in sales. The assessments go to marketing efforts
conducted by the California Travel and Tourism Commission.
The vast majority of California travel agencies are exempt from
the program: Only those agencies with more than $1 million annual
sales and with more than 20% of their sales involving travel to or
within the state participate.
The program raised $4.4 million in 1999 and about $5 million
last year, according to a CTTC spokesman.
The funds are combined with the annual $7.3 million in state
funds granted to the CTTC by the state legislature each year.
In a statement, Lon Hatamiya, secretary of California's
Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency, said: "Passage of the
referendum comes at a critical time for California as we are faced
with a decline in long-haul travel and a struggling economy. The
continued infusion of private sector funds ensured by this vote
will allow us to respond to these challenges head on."
Some $5 million in funds will be used starting Nov. 14 when the
CTTC kicks off an emergency advertising campaign directed at
Funds that were to be used for a national advertising campaign
in the spring were redirected to the in-state fall and winter
campaign which involves television and radio advertising in major
population centers in California.
The tourism marketing act was proposed by a Governor's Task
Force on Tourism Funding in the early 1990s as the state began
losing tourism to other states. The act was passed in 1997 and the
first assessments took place in 1998.
The act required a vote to continue the program this year.
Another vote to continue the program is scheduled to take place in
2003 and every two years thereafter.
The CTTC administers the tourism marketing program and a board
comprised of 12 regional commissioners appointed by the governor
and 24 commissions elected by industry peers in several categories
-- restaurants, hotels, etc. -- directs the use of the funds.