SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With projections for spring and summer
tourism in California down by almost 6%, the state's travel
industry is focusing on residents with promotions geared to
stimulate interest with discount room nights.
Caroline Beteta, director of the California Travel and Tourism
Commission, said the final numbers are not yet in for 2001, but
preliminary sales-tax figures show the impact of Sept. 11 and the
economic slump -- spending on travel and tourism in the state was
off by 15% in the fourth quarter.
"The projections we're getting for 2002 is that leisure travel
will be off by 8% to 9% this winter -- and spring and summer may be
off by 5.9%," she said.
Beteta said the decline in business travel has impacted urban
areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco more than other cities.
Some areas, such as ski resorts, the wine country region and desert
resorts, are doing healthy business because of their dependence on
The commission, which derives its budget by a unique combination
of public and private funding, diverted $5 million last fall from
its domestic marketing efforts to an in-state campaign.
The second half of that campaign, a radio and TV advertising
blitz which uses celebrities such as actor Cheech Marin and
distinguished residents such as winemaker Gina Gallo, is running
Again, the focus of the campaign is Californians.
"Because we saw an unprecedented numbers drop, the travel
industry knew its best shot was its own residents," Beteta
The state also has mounted a public relations campaign, which
includes a focus on its www.visitcalifornia.com Web site.
One new feature of the site is a "California Finds" section,
featuring discounts and packages from 800 hotels and
But the industry hasn't given up on out-of-state visitors. This
month, the commission is hosting the California Travel Mart, which
is expected to draw 175 international tour operators and industry
reporters to San Francisco and the Napa wine country.
The state also issued its 2002 California Visitor's Guide and
Travel Planner, a 244-page color guide with maps and discount
coupons to attractions, and a 2002 California Celebrations guide of
1,200 events throughout the state.
Both publications are available by calling (800) 862-2543.