The Brief: June
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On June 13, Leena attended the India Ready Seminar by Visit California. The seminar was held in Napa and largely focused on the appeal of wine, wine tours, and unique wine experiences that the growing number of Indian travelers are seeking. Fortunately, for our region, while these travelers expect a high level of service, they don't need to visit the large brand names. The experience is of greater value than that label. This follows a growing trend we see among international travelers, even first-time visitors. The market is looking for authentic, hidden gems. Where did they go they their neighbors couldn't find?
With 1.3 billion people in India and an expected median age of 29 by 2020, India is no longer an emerging market. It's an opportunity market. Visit California has been focusing on India and developing its presence since 2009. In 2017, there were 333,000 registered travelers from India. By the end of this year, we expect to 359,000 registered travelers and 415,000 by 2020. From Delhi to SFO alone, in 2017 Indian travelers booked 74,500 seats. Now, SFO hosts direct flights 9 times a week. In partnership with Brand USA, Visit California is now targeting India with a 33-second spot- including mentions of Gold Country and Lake Tahoe!
From May 29- June 1, the Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism participated in the annual CalTravel Summit in San Diego under the theme "Voices Carry." Sessions included: The CalTravel Ambassadors Meeting, TID Forum, June Member Board Meeting, a 'Hot Topics' discussion on California legislative issues within travel, a report on Washington by US Travel, the crisis of homelessness, cannabis tourism, protecting the TID, crisis management, and communications.
Notably, our friends at CalTravel and Civitas encourages us to pay close attention to the Tax Fairness Act. It's current language targets BIDs and has avoided endangering PBIDs, TBIDs, TMDs, and TIDs. Additionally, our RCTT community and stakeholders can engage with their local congressperson regarding the renewal of Brand USA. Brand USA is the national DMO and advocacy branch for tourism and travel to and within the United States.
"We heard a lot from leaders in other DMOs. The team at Huntington Beach focused on how they are using tourism to build community; that management is more important to them than marketing. Their CVB uses their TOT for destination product development.
Carl Ribaudo, who RCTT contracted with this past spring for research, emphasized that destination management is half the battle. Carl encouraged attendees to live in a "mindset of change," and to "tell our stories better." I was lucky enough to hear the Sonoma County Tourism leadership discuss their 2017-2019 plans and where their crisis response fits within this. Sonoma County Tourism provided both a digital and hard copy of their plans if you're interested in reviewing it. As they did in Visit California, Discover Los Angeles and San Francisco Travel discussed both their optimism for travel within the next year and their focus on welcoming international visitors.
Overall, under the new administration, the US has lost a significant share of the international traveler. California leaders are absolutely sending a different message. As a diverse community, we in Rancho Cordova have a clear opportunity to distinguish ourselves with a message of welcoming. Notably, the biggest discussion that nearly all sessions in the conference touched on was homelessness and the role of DMOs supporting the community. Everyone is approaching this issue differently, which is understandable since the issue is so complex and layered. Given that, the more voices of the community (like tourism leaders) who come to the table to help those in need, the better."
"US Travel Association is predicting a 1.9-percent growth in travel revenue over the next year. Jack Johnson with Destinations International spoke about the public good that tourism bureaus deliver to the communities in which they operate. From funding special projects, through TBID funding (Think bike racks, dog park, etc.) or TOT which funds a bevy of services and infrastructure, to enhance the reputation of the region, the improvement to the life of families, neighbors and community members are significant. Destinations International is creating several advocacy documents that will be helpful to Rancho Cordova Travel & Tourism to showcase this public good."