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California Tourism Leader Takes On National Role in Promoting Vacations

Published on: July 28, 2012

Carolyn Beteta (photo) was recently named interim chief executive of Brand USA, a $150-million media campaign to promote the U.S. to travelers worldwide. She currently serves as president and chief executive of Visit California, and will continue in her role to champion the State of California as America’s top destination.

California leads the way–tourism is one of the state’s best sectors during tough economic times in 2012. And behind the magic curtain is an organization funded by state attractions, hotels and fees collected from car rentals, to promote California as the place to go on vacations.  California boasts the original Disneyland, nearly a dozen theme parks, many sports leagues and teams, mountain skiing, top farm production in the nation, top wine production, 1,000 miles of beaches, unique desert landscapes, a massive park system and yes, casinos!

California will be represented along with the rest of the U.S. in a new campaign which includes billboards, magazine ads, online videos and television commercials with the message “Discover America.” It features Johnny Cash’s daughter, Rosanne Cash, a throaty Country Western singer who wails an anthem, “Land of Dreams.” In the background are images of Americans playing on California beaches, running through flowers and dancing in streets throughout the nation. The campaign is targeted for specific countries:  Canada, UK and Japan, followed later in Brazil, South Korea, India and Germany.

The U.S. has experienced a drop in world travelers in the past decade and wants its  foreign travelers back. International travelers typically spend more money and stay longer on vacations than U.S. travelers.

Launched by U.S. Travel Association and funded by Congressional approval  as part of the Travel Promotion Act of 2010, the  campaign is financed by a $14 fee charged to each international visitor who registers for a visa to enter the U.S., plus donations from private businesses such as hotels and theme parks.  New York-based JWT advertising firm got the contract to develop the campaign.

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