Visit California, the tourism promotional corporation for the U.S. State of California, has declared the U.A.E and the Gulf Country States as markets to be targeted with increased and renewed focus supported by expanded marketing investment and ongoing engagement. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Loft – Dubai Opera on April 24th 2019, where nine CEOs representing various communities within California confirmed their commitment to the UAE and the Gulf States as a region to proactively target with ongoing travel industry, consumer and media campaigns, to be launched from April 2019 onwards.
Visit California anticipates 264,000 Middle Eastern travelers to visit the Golden State in 2019, marking a pronounced rebound in travel from the region after declines following the federal administration transition in 2017. By 2022, growth in travel from the Middle East is projected to approach 300,000 visitors, outpacing several of the state’s current top target markets.
“Now is the perfect time for us to tell travelers that all dreams are welcome in California,” said Caroline Beteta, president, and CEO of Visit California. “We are kicking off our activities in the Middle East at the highest level with a delegation of nine senior executives all eager to learn as much as possible about this dynamic market so we can provide experiences that are attractive, exciting and inspirational to Middle Eastern guests, and deliver diverse and welcoming hospitality, luxury offerings, and countless awe-inspiring adventures.”
It is the first time for such a high-level delegation from California’s tourism industry to visit the U.A.E. as part of mission that will spearhead a multitude of market engagements, including the implementation of airline and travel industry partnerships, consumer campaigns, travel industry educational programs, as well as media, digital and social media engagements.
Says Beteta, “We are here to forge new business relationships and build upon existing relationships, and we will use this opportunity to better understand the nuances of the GCC market to refine our strategy and marketing approach as a unified statewide collective.”
The delegation, headed by Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California includes: James Bermingham, Executive Vice President, Operations Montage International & Visit California Board Chair; Julie Wagner, CEO, Beverly Hills Convention & Visitors Bureau; Ed Fuller, President and CEO, Orange County Visitors Association; Ernie Wooden, President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board; Misti Kerns, CEO, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism; Tom Kiely, President and CEO, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board; Gary Sherwin, President & CEO, Newport Beach & Co; and Kathy Janega-Dykes, President & CEO, Visit Santa Barbara.
Visit California will promote itself to travelers from the region through its “All Dreams Welcome” campaign, designed to roll out the red carpet to all international visitors, no matter their background. Wide-reaching campaigns will be implemented to inspire a myriad of traveler interests, with a particular focus given to family travel and travelers seeking unique Californian luxury experiences. During the mission, a “Kidifornia” campaign will be launched among the UAE’s top social media influencers to highlight the great family attractions the state has to offer, while luxury experiences will hold a bespoke approach steeped in a philosophy of luxury guided by an adventurous spirit, a playful approach to life, and a love of the original, the unique and the innovative.