A month after California lawmakers slashed $7 million in state
funds for promoting tourism and shifted the Division of Tourism to
the authority of a new agency, the state’s tourism promotional
organization is reorganizing.
California Travel, the marketing effort that joined the state
and the private sector, will now rely exclusively on an
industry-approved assessment to fund a budget that is half of what
it used to be.
Jennifer Jasper, deputy director of the California Travel and
Tourism Commission, the privately funded arm of California Travel,
talked recently with TravelAge West about the changes and
challenges ahead. Following are excerpts from that discussion.
How are the budget cuts going to impact the state’s ability to
Obviously, when your budget gets cut in half there will be some
reductions. But none of our core programs are being eliminated.
Everything is continuing with just a few reductions and
We have five international offices for the travel trade, and
those all remain open. We have three international PR offices. All
of those remain open.
We still will be actively pursuing the press. We will continue
to have outreach programs and fam trips. Our Web site is still up
and running and still provides a lot of information.
We also have the California welcome center and that program
still remains. We have a variety of co-op programs Shop California,
Dine California, Golf California all of those remain intact. We
have our rural tourism program and that remains intact, but with
some changes and cuts.
One thing that will have the biggest cuts that people will
notice is our advertising.
We are still going to be doing our advertising programs, but it
is going to be between $1 million and $1.4 million. In the past it
was at least double that. Advertising will be taking the biggest
How exactly will the cuts affect your advertising campaign?
Everybody knows that advertising is extremely expensive. And we
are right now just in the planning stages for our 2004
We will have a print advertising campaign and hopefully a TV
campaign, but at this point we don’t know the specifics. It will be
in the Western U.S. primarily.
We’re seeing how we can do some more co-oping to see how we can
extend our advertising dollars.
We’ll still be doing some of our co-op advertising; we have a
winter co-op that will be coming out in November. We’ll be doing
another one like that in the spring.
Will the cuts narrow your focus to certain markets?
I don’t think we’ll be changing any of our markets, but we won’t
be able to add new markets. The Western states are important. On
the international side, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and
Germany, those remain strong. As long as our numbers remain solid,
they’ll still be our core markets.
How has the state’s division of tourism been shuffled
We have maintained seven and a half positions with the state and
those are primarily for the assessment, research and the welcome
centers. That’s pretty much for managing the collections and the
operations of the commission as far as the collecting of the funds.
So, that will remain, but the marketing, the advertising and the
programs, all of those functions have moved over to the commission,
the private side.
The Division of Tourism used to be under California Technology,
Trade and Commerce Agency and that agency is slated for closure
January 1, 2004.
So between now and 2004 the operations are going to be moved to
a new agency called the Business Transportation and Housing
Has the recall election complicated things?
We don’t expect any problems. Any type of legislature or
government that is pro-economic development works for our industry
and us. We’ve been lucky in the past. Gray Davis, the governor, did
help us with the tourism recovery act in 2001 for our “We’re
We’re hoping that in the future when the state budget situation
rebounds that we’ll go back and have some more state funding.
What are the most difficult changes that will be made?
Though we’ve had to reevaluate all of our programs, we luckily
haven’t had to cut many of them. But we’ve had to change the way
some of the things operate. We’ve had to reduce some of our trade
show participation and cut back on some of the advertising.
How will you reduce trade show participation?
We’re still going to go to all of the main shows. Pow Wow in ‘04
will be in Los Angeles. We will have a strong presence. We are also
going to be assisting with some of the funding for that event. So
we’ll help as much as we can.
We’ll still be going to all the international shows, WTM, ITB,
as well as the ones here in the U.S. But we probably won’t be able
to do quite as many of the second-tier shows.
We’re going to have to cut back on some of the new shows or some
of the special shows we were doing before.
Will the state cut back on the fam trips?
We have never cut back on fams and I don’t expect we will this
year as well. We may have to make some reductions as far as
accommodations and air. We’re obviously not going to have as much
for those types of details, but we certainly will encourage and
help with as many fam trips as we can.
Do you have any projections on how the cuts will impact market
What we are hoping for this coming year is that our market share
stays flat. Of course I would love to say that we’d like it to grow
we always want it to grow. But I think, realistically, we are
hoping to stay flat.