Visit California circled Asia this spring with back-to-back Sales & Media Missions in three key markets, bringing together wide delegations of industry representatives from across the Golden State.
First up was Visit California's biannual mission to Japan and South Korea, held this year from March 19-24 in Seoul, Osaka, and Tokyo. For the first time, a media track was added to the mission, with five public relations delegates engaging in one-to-one appointments with key media members in all three cities, along with participation in press events and receptions.
The travel trade track also had one-to-one appointments in both Japan and South Korea, plus hosted seminars as part of the Club California product development series style. Attendance at VIP receptions in all three cities exceeded expectations, with the final evening in Tokyo exceeding 170 guests.
Just two weeks later, the Visit California team again lead a delegation to Asia, this time to California's No. 1 overseas market. The China mission was held April 10-14, visiting Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hangzhou as part of the trade track, with a visit to Shanghai as part of the media track. The cities chosen were used to leverage the China strategy of Tier 2 city expansion.
The trade track enjoyed high participation at one-to-one appointments and agency takeovers in all three cities, while the media track also met with key Chinese media influencers and held several unique events. The engagements provided important opportunities for the California delegation to share story angles and pitch their products in varied environments.
Visit California also hosted a special VIP Dreamers dinner for the delegates and members of the trade and media in Chengdu. A California-themed dinner was prepared with the Golden State's signature fresh ingredients along with world-class California wine. The delegates were introduced to the top influencers by a sand performance, in which an artist designed a representation of their products out of sand.
China has continued to see increases in year-over-year growth, with 1.3 million visitors to California in 2016 alone. The market is predicted to surpass Canada as California's top international market in the next few years.
With continued market expansion, airlift and knowledge, it is an exciting time to forecast the future of California's visitation from throughout Asia as the tourism industry continues to deepen ties and forge lasting relationships in these ever-expanding markets.
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