California Travelers Find Themselves Here

As you roll through the big glass doors onto the convention hall, suitcase on wheels by your side, a doormat welcomes you with the words, "California - Find Yourself Here". This week in Pasadena hundreds of travel industry folks will take those steps into the Pasadena Convention Center to find out how to get us, the consumers, to buy more things-namely hotel rooms, theme park tickets, tour attractions, and products related to travel.

Californians "find themselves" daily when trying to be happy in their jobs, pay the bills, cope with life's twists & turns, and still have money and time in the budget to travel. We don't always think of our drive to work as a vacation, but in the travel industry, a 50 mile (or more) drive trip with an overnight stay qualifies as a vacation. Overnight stays only help the travel industry when hotel rooms and meals or other items are purchased on that 50 mile trip. Staying with your friend or relative doesn't help. Why? The hotel room contains fees and taxes earmarked for special funds that each city divvies out to pay off debts, or to fund a special group-the destination management organization. The next time you book a room and check in, ask someone at the front desk of a hotel to explain to you the added fees. Most will glide through the explanation quickly, and they'll usually say it has nothing to do with their hotel, but with the city or other groups and assessments. The fees vary from city to city, so it's good to comparison shop when booking a room.

And, if you rent a car in California, you are supporting the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) (the state-wide industry tourism marketer) in its efforts to portray California as a desirable destination. CTTC is a non-profit organization with a $50+ million budget. Brochures, magazines, maps, TV ads, and an army of travel pros span the globe promoting California through the Sacramento-based group. One key funding source for CTTC is an assessment tax from car rentals in California. Every time you rent a car, you pay a fee that goes to the tourism industry promoters. CTTC gathers information about other states that also market themselves aggressively. Top spenders in U.S. tourism marketing include Florida, Hawaii, New York, California and Nevada.

Perhaps you feel that finding yourself is a little too expensive these days. With Californians comprising over 85% of travelers in California, it's easy to see how state residents support the tourism industry simply by traveling over 50 miles and staying overnight somewhere. Most will spend at least one night in a hotel room in California this year. In so doing, they have contributed to tourism, which is one of the top growth industries in the U.S.

The moniker, "California, Find Yourself Here" has served as a calling card around the globe to invite Asians, Europeans, Australians and South Americans to visit, but nowhere has the message been delivered and resounded more than in California where millions of TV watchers have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger and estranged wife, Maria, invite you to travel in California and "find yourself here". New advertisements have replaced the former California governor with popular actors and celebrities touting their own state as a great destination.

The 29th Annual California Travel Summit is being held June 20-22, 2011 in Southern California, and includes industry speakers, a golf tournament, and gala on the evening of June 21. For information, see or call: Phone: (916) 932-2580


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