California Tourism Information Tour Industry California Agencies


California tourism has a long history and interesting transition in funding. Beginning well over a decade ago with a California State tourism and commerce department, that agency was defunded during an administration that sought to cut state budget costs. What happened, in effect, was the entity that performed tourism tasks was privatized into what is now called the California Travel and Tourism Commission. Since 1998, the California Tourism program (a joint marketing venture of the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) and the California Division of Tourism (an entity that currently operates as an office within the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency works with the California Tourism Marketing Act. California Division of Tourism office's primary responsibilities are oversight of the California Tourism Selection Committee and the California Travel and Tourism Commission. So, in essence, the monies allocated by Arnold Schwarzenegger or any other governor are provided under the auspices of a department individual, the Deputy Secretary of Tourism of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency,  who also serves as the executive director of the Travel and Tourism Commission.

It may seem a bit complex. Basically jobs were taken off the government payroll, and an agency was formed that created a partnership with the California government for funds, but was required to match funds through its own fund-raising efforts. In the case of California, there are so many tourism entities that benefit from promotion that they agreed to pay an assessment to help fund this new agency, California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC). Commission (CTTC). The CTTC is a private non-profit 501(C) 3 funded by assessed businesses that have an interest in promoting tourism in California


In its current form, the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), acts as the officially-state funded entity representing California to the world market. Some numbers produced by the agency yield these findings:

California is the #1 travel destination in the United States

California generates more than $88 billion annually in travel and tourism spending

Calif. is responsible for generating more than one million jobs

California generates $5 billion in state and local tax revenues
California Tourism is the 4th largest employer in the State of California

The Tourism Assessment Program that funds such studies was created under the California Tourism Marketing Act in 1995 with the passage of SB 256. The legislation authorized self-imposition of an assessment by businesses that benefit from travel and tourism. In 2001, the Act was renewed by an 84 percent and is scheduled for renewal every six years.  The CTTC oversees the production of a variety of marketing activities, including advertising, visitor publications and cooperative programs – all designed to promote California to travelers, tourists and the travel trade. Their main website is

In 2007,  5,500 assessed businesses include this breakdown:

62% are accommodations

15% restaurant and retail

14% travel related businesses

9% are attractions


Campaigns created by the CTTC have include ads marketing California as "nutty" and original. Using celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, Terry Hatcher and Arnold Schwarzenegger, television ads, magazine production, web sites, and a variety of print, movies and on-the-road promotions around the globe are created, assessed for effectiveness and tweaked.  In 2007, Florida tourism officials noted that as the mid-level traveler expenditures in hotels were flattening, California was giving them a run for their money in the competition for visitors and dollars spent.  The study showed that an economic downturn impacted the hotel industry especially (remember that in California 62% of CTTC funding comes from hotels). The strongest market was an upper end market that was trading down to cheaper hotel rooms in some cases. And the middle and budget markets were dropping out slightly, by making shorter stay, stays with family and friends or less trips.


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