Lake Tahoe helps market California lifestyle | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe helps market California lifestyle

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

Courtesy of Tom Zikas/North Lake Tahoe Resort AssnWhether it be summer or winter, Tahoe is one of California's top tourist destinations. The California Travel and Tourism Commission is marketing the Golden State's "hard-playing and fun-loving" lifestyle to attract domestic and international visitors.

Armed with an annual $50 million marketing budget, the California Travel and Tourism Commission will promote the “California lifestyle” to stimulate the Golden State’s $93.8 billion tourism industry.

Television ads portraying the state’s outdoor activities will feature scenes of the Lake Tahoe region.

The fun-loving, hard-working and hard-playing Californian lifestyle is an appealing image to potential domestic and international visitors alike.

That was the message delivered Wednesday by Chief Deputy Director of Operations Susan Wilcox of the state tourism commission at a meeting in Kings Beach hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.

“They still want to come to California and be Californians, and enjoy what we here take for granted everyday,” Wilcox said.

Pursuing a wide range of marketing avenues including print, Internet and television, the commission will publicize the state’s diverse attractions, from Pacific Ocean beaches to Napa Valley vineyards and San Francisco’s cable cars.

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And, of course, the campaign will include the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

Legislation passed in 2006 gave the tourism commission a robust marketing budget that exceeds every other state’s with the exception of Hawaii and Pennsylvania.

The 2007-08 fiscal year budget of $50 million will be maintained for another six years.

Tourism taxes pay for 98 percent of the $50 million annual budget, with assessments from car rentals contributing 79 percent. Businesses subject to the tourism assessment must gross more than $1 million annually with at least 1 percent coming from tourism.

Each business pays the commission $650 for each million in revenue.

But a majority of affected businesses must support the assessment each year for it to be renewed. Wilcox made the presentation Wednesday in part to encourage eligible businesses to vote yes on the assessment.

“[The assessment] is very important for all of us in the tourism business and, frankly, for people who aren’t in the tourism business but benefit,” said Executive Director Steve Teshara of the Tahoe resort association.

Domestic marketing will consume $23.9 million of the proposed budget, with nearly as much financing an international marketing campaign.

“We really have to think about the global marketplace,” Wilcox said.

Campaign efforts thus far have influenced 4.9 million visitors, with a resulting $1.96 billion in incremental spending in the state, according to figures Wilcox released. The California snow campaign, which cost nearly $1.5 million and included the television spot, Web site and print mediums, has had a $60 million economic impact.

The commission will air two television spots domestically this year, one featuring the state’s “working life” ” that is, how Californians work hard to play.

The second promotes California as a winter sports destination in the same league as Colorado and Utah.

We shred, we fly, snowboarders and skiers boast in the winter spot. But if there’s one rule, it’s that there are no rules, claim the brash outdoor athletes.

Though the winter spot has more Tahoe coverage, the working-hard-to-play spot also promotes the area with a closing shot of a camper staring at a stunning panoramic view of Emerald Bay at sunrise. The commission’s logo, “California, find yourself here,” fades into the scene as the spot ends.

The working spot will also air in the United Kingdom this year, Wilcox said.

“[The British] think of us in the same way the domestic visitor does,” she said, again noting the fun-loving California lifestyle.

The commission also wants a spot that features California as a culinary destination.

“You have as much to gain from that as any part of the state,” Wilcox said.

There’s also something to be said for having an international superstar as our governor, Wilcox noted. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has visited Japan, China, Mexico and Canada on trade missions to promote California tourism.

“When you take Arnold, let me tell you,” Wilcox said. “He invited 250,000 consumers [in Japan] to come to California. You can’t buy that.”