California to Boost International Visitor Spending by Hosting USA’s Top International Travel Trade Show Second Year in a Row

Posted by Kassy Perry

$800 million in new visitation expenditures expected through 2016 in the Golden State

International Pow Wow 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of Visit California’s long-term strategy to boost the state’s economy by attracting more high-spending international visitors, Visit California joins the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board in hosting North America’s premier travel trade show – International Pow Wow (IPW) – April 21-25. Pow Wow 2012 marks the second consecutive year of U.S. Travel Association’s biggest event being staged in the Golden State, following Pow Wow 2011 in San Francisco. Visit California will lead a delegation of more than 225 California travel industry businesses and destinations to aggressively promote the Golden State to the thousands of international tour operators and media attending.

“In terms of economic impact and global exposure, International Pow Wow is the Olympic Games of the U.S. travel industry,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO. “Hosting IPW in Los Angeles this year and San Francisco last year gave Visit California an incredible opportunity to show off our diverse tourism product to the world’s most influential and top-producing buyers of U.S. travel products.”

U.S. Travel Association estimates that the IPW host city and surrounding areas can expect to generate an extra $400 million in incremental expenditures over the following three years. That means that the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions alone can expect to see up to $800 million in additional international traveler revenues through 2016. This opportunity, combined with Visit California’s significant global marketing investments in recent years, will result in more tourism business for California, which means more state and local tax revenues and more jobs.

In 2011, spending by 220 million visitors to California led to a record $102.3 billion in expenditures, supporting 893,000 jobs and generating $2.3 billion in local tax dollars. International tourism is the fastest growing segment and represents 20 percent of total visitor spending – adding up to $19.1 billion in 2011.

“While our long-term strategy of increasing investment in international markets is paying off – recent figures project a 21 percent increase in international visitation between 2011 and 2015 – we know we can’t take this growth for granted,” Beteta said. “California competes globally for these lucrative visitors, who stay longer and spend more than domestic travelers, and as the global economy continues to improve the competition will get even fiercer. Visit California will continue to look for high-impact opportunities like IPW to attract these high-value customers.”

Visit California commits more than $20 million to international marketing with in-market representation around the globe, from Europe and Australia to Asia and South America. This investment – about 50% of the overall destination marketing budget – funds an ever-growing global online presence, direct to consumer advertising in select markets and year-round travel trade and public relations activities. Visit California spent $23.68 million on global advertising in 2011 to reach 68.9 million consumers, generating $5.5 billion in incremental visitor spending – a remarkable return on investment of $231 to $1. (Tax ROI: $15 to $1).

Due in part to Visit California’s international investment, total visits to California grew by an estimated 3.3 percent in 2011, fueled by overseas travel (up 10.5 percent, versus domestic visits, up 2.8 percent). Growth in international visitor spending (up 12.6 percent) outpaced domestic spending gains (up 6.9 percent) in 2011, with total expenditures up a robust 7.6 percent.

The forecast for 2012 is also bright, with overseas visits expected to increase 5.7 percent, Mexican visits up 3.9 percent and Canadian visits up 3.6 percent. Total international spending, boosted by Visit California’s marketing investment, is anticipated to rise a healthy 6.8 percent, outperforming forecasted domestic growth (up 4.4 percent).

“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to maintain and expand our robust marketing program targeting the international market, which we see as a long-term investment for California’s growth,” said Beteta, who also serves as Vice Chair of Brand USA, the country’s first-ever national marketing program to promote the United States travel brand to international consumers. “Aligning efforts with Brand USA to boost international tourism into our country is a natural extension of our global marketing program and key to our state’s future economic health.”


Visit California is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures total over $102 billion annually in California (20 percent of which is international), support jobs for 893,000 Californians and generate $6.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Visitor’s Guide, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.

Visit California
Jennifer Sweeney, 916-233-0255
PR Manager (U.S. & Canada)
Shannon Brooks
PR Manager (International)

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