Visit California launches initiative to promote smart, sustainable tourism over next decade

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Visit California has selected global consulting firm JLL to prepare a dozen regional strategic plans to help guide California’s tourism industry for the next decade, the state tourism marketing organization announced today.

JLL will conduct extensive research with industry stakeholders, residents and civic leaders across the state and aggregate existing strategic research to prepare plans specific to each of California’s 12 tourism regions. The plans will examine the full range of tourism issues – from overcrowded destinations to housing imbalances, environmental challenges, workforce development and infrastructure needs.

Tourism businesses and California’s 300-plus destination management organizations will use the findings and recommendations to inform business decisions, inspire partnerships with local governments and nonprofits and build a more sustainable future for the industry.

“Visit California could not be more excited to join with JLL to launch this ambitious, groundbreaking strategic planning effort,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of the organization. “California’s tourism industry is recovering from an economic shock 10 times greater than 9/11, but it is a perfect opportunity for us to take stock, assess the challenges and opportunities, set priorities, and develop regional strategies for the next 10 years. Strategic planning will build more resilient and sustainable destinations across the state and strengthen alliances between California communities and the tourism industry.”

“We applaud Visit California for taking on a project of this magnitude to plan for each tourism region and for the state as a whole,” said Dan Fenton, Director of JLL’s Global Tourism & Destination Services. “JLL is honored to be Visit California’s partner in this effort, and we look forward to working with tourism stakeholders across the state to deliver 12 actionable strategic plans that will guide the industry for the next 10 years.”

JLL was selected after a Request For Proposals process conducted by Visit California and industry leaders. Funding for the program comes from a $4.9 million allocation from a U.S. Economic Development Administration pandemic recovery grant awarded to California.

The project launches immediately with initial stakeholder surveying and is scheduled to conclude in late 2024 with delivery of plans, recommendations and action items in each of California’s tourism regions: San Diego County Orange County, Deserts, Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, Central Coast, Central Valley, Gold Country, San Francisco Bay Area, High Sierra, Shasta-Cascade and North Coast.

JLL’s consulting partners on the project include Ernst & Young, Tourism Economics, World Travel and Tourism Council, Tourism Diversity Matters, The Zimmerman Agency, Unisphere Ideas, SWCA Environmental Consultants and RiskLayer. JLL has conducted tourism research on more than 150 destinations worldwide. In California, JLL has 20 offices and more than 4,200 employees. 

Goals for plan development include:

  • Identify industry opportunities and challenges and recommend strategies for improvement to be implemented over a 10-year period.
  • Create community- and industry-wide support for responsible travel principles and strategies to protect the environment and cultural assets.
  • Assess climate impacts to and from tourism in each region and recommend courses of action for destinations and businesses.  
  • Encourage destination tourism development that maximizes diversity and equity and appeals to all visitors. 
  • Build more lasting alliances between the tourism industry and civic, governmental, and political leadership in each region. 
  • Establish stronger links between tourism and its economic impact on local communities, while mitigating links between tourism and negative impacts. 
  • Create stronger brand perceptions for destinations. 
  • Develop priority recommendations for infrastructure projects that aid tourism.
  • Identify pathways for a more stable workforce by ameliorating housing imbalances and health and safety concerns.
  • Identify and improve visitor volume impacts that degrade the community and the visitor experience.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.