Caroline Beteta during a press conference at the IPW trade event in San Antonio, Texas Caroline Beteta during a press conference at the IPW trade event in San Antonio, Texas

‘California is back’: State outlines progress, plans

The latest iteration of Road Trip Republic, a campaign encouraging responsible travel and a focus on Native American communities were all highlighted by Visit California at the recent IPW event in San Antonio, Texas.

Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of the organisation says the state is building on progress already made since the pandemic in 2019.

‘California is back in the game and the bounce back has been faster than expected,’ she says. ‘We’re looking at a full recovery (to 2019 figures) later this year and in 2022 we had already 93% recovered.’

Beteta notes the strong airlift recovery, which in 2022 was 83% of pre-Covid.

She says Visit California has recently published a sustainable travel guide with industry partners that includes encouraging mid-week and off-peak tourism. It has also adopted the theme Travel Responsibly – Respect California.

Beteta says the latest California Road Trips Guide, an initiative that was gaining traction before the pandemic, has been released with 13 itineraries covering the whole state.

An example of the trips is Animals, Desert and Off Beat Art, which starts at San Diego Airport and covers 355 miles in five or six days.

Another development is Visit Native Calfiornia, which since March this year has had its own hub on the Visit California webste.

‘This is designed to tell authentic stories of California’s native peoples in their own voice and has been developed in partnership with the native communities,’ says Beteta.

Over the past couple of years, California has also seen a myriad of hotel and attraction developments with many more in the pipeline. San Francisco Bay area has seen The LINE San Francsco, 1 Hotel San Francisco and Hyatt Place San Carlos.

Highlights in Los Angeles County include Regent Santa Monica Beach, Conrad Los Angeles and Palihotel Hollywood.

On the theme park front, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s WONDER WOMAN Flight of Courage is open with a claim to be the tallest and longest single-rail coaster on the planet.

Other additions include Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood and, opening soon, Sesame Place San Diego’s new Count’s Splash Castle, the classic coaster Montezooma’s Revenge at Knott’s Berry farm and more.

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