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Japanese tourists want to taste California life
San Clemente man hopes to attract them to visit small towns, including his own, with more intimate charms.


The Orange County Register

San Clemente could see a surge in Japanese tourists in 2005 - and so could all of California, if Rick Anderson and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have their way..

Anderson, owner of a Pier Bowl bed & breakfast inn and a member of the California Travel and Tourism Commission, is back from a trade mission to Japan that starred California's actor-turned-governor.

For five days in November, Schwarzenegger made appearances and contacts in Japan as part of a 57-member trade delegation promoting California agricultural products, business and tourism..

 

 

Anderson spent an extra five days in Japan on his own, furthering the contacts he'd made.

Now he is home at his Casa Tropicana bed & breakfast inn, putting together an eight-day January tour that will show a delegation of Japanese tour organizers the charms of San Clemente, Catalina Island, Monterey, the wine country and other California venues.

 

 

The goal: To promote new California tour packages - a more personal, people-oriented style of travel that doesn't just herd Japanese visitors in buses to traditional glitzy attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios.

"The Japanese people are pretty much over the icons of California," Anderson said. "They have a Disneyland in Tokyo. They have a Universal Studios. They've been to San Francisco. Some of the buzz words the Japanese are looking for are 'rural, historic, beaches, small towns, nature.' They want to talk to an entrepreneur. They want to have an American barbecue, an American beach party. They want to get out and see the California that we know but they don't have any idea how to do."

Anderson said Japanese tourists are big spenders, and the new trend for the Japanese traveler will be the FIT - Fully Individualized Tour - traveling in smaller groups by car or van to the nooks and crannies of California. Anderson, as immediate past president of the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns, suggested using B&Bs as overnight stopping points for tours taking in the gold country, the wine country, the coast and more.

 

 

"If this works," he said, "they're going to package different tours - like they have the Heaven to Hell Tour, from Tahoe to the desert. One of the biggest icons is that 'crazy California beach lifestyle' ... that's us. They also talked about small towns and downtowns and communities where they can practice their English. In the big cities, they're intimidated. But when they get out and get into smaller towns where they can talk to local shopkeepers, they are very excited about the opportunity."

Anderson will lead the Jan. 22-30 introductory tour. It will start in San Clemente and will include a visit to the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns' 2005 convention in Monterey, where the Japanese will be treated to a California beach party with bonfires, marshmallows and festivities.

 

 

"My best hope," Anderson said, "is that they go back and they run a few tours through here, and it gets popular. For this type of FIT, it's the younger generation who has a lot of money and they're more comfortable with driving cars and navigating through California by car, or in groups of small vans of maybe four, five or six people, or maybe 15 or 20."

Anderson saidif it works, a tour group of seven to 25 Japanese might come through San Clemente as often as four to five times a week, staying at hotels, motels or B&Bs.

 

 

"In San Clemente we have that small-town feel," he said. "They just love our eclectic lifestyle. Of course, they spend a lot of money on shopping. They want to learn how to surf, so they rent surfboards. And eat in the restaurants."

Anderson said having Schwarzenegger lead the way for the trade delegation in Japan, where he is popular for his movies, was "huge."

 

 

"Lending his name to tourism was probably the best thing that could have happened for California tourism," Anderson said. "The company that we kept and the way we were treated over there was something that I have never experienced in my life. They were very, very intent on trying to make something happen. Without Arnold, it wouldn't have happened. We would have never achieved this on our own."

 
California Tourism Delegates to Visit Japan

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 10, 2004--More than 20 delegates representing California's top travel destinations, accommodations and attractions are in Tokyo this week as part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Japan Trade Mission.

Helping to spearhead the effort is the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs in partnership with the state's travel industry that keep California top-of-mind. California is currently ranked as the number one travel destination in the country.

 

 

"Tourism is big business for California generating $78.2 billion in direct travel spending and producing $5 billion in direct state and local revenues," CTTC Executive Director Caroline Beteta said. "In 2003, California welcomed 590,000 visitors from Japan and generated a total of $668 million in travel-related expenditures. This number represents a 50 percent drop from the 1990s, making Japan California's second largest overseas market. Japan is important to California because we serve as the gateway for Asian travelers and are the first point of entry into the United States. California is increasing its marketing efforts in Japan to regain this market share and to better compete with other destinations aggressively promoting to Japanese travelers."

The delegation includes a variety of California businesses, as well as convention and visitor bureaus representing some of the state's most popular destinations.

 

 

Anaheim/ Orange County Visitors and Convention Bureau: Anaheim/Orange County consists of 34 colorful, diverse cities and 42 miles of beautiful coastline in Southern California. It's the home of Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, South Coast Plaza, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Anaheim Angels baseball team and "The OC" television show. Huntington Beach." Newport Beach features Fashion Island and Pelican Hill Golf Club, while Laguna Beach has quaint shops and art galleries. Beach cities feature luxurious new resorts and spas offering peace, comfort and relaxation.

 

 

California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns: The California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns (CABBI) represents more than 300 certified bed and breakfast inns throughout California, and is the most thorough, single source of information for bed and breakfast travel in the state. Travelers can research accommodations by region, amenities, facilities, lodging packages, rates and availability via the organization's website. Links to member inns' websites make it easy to check availability and book reservations. CABBI bed and breakfast inns are ideal for business travel, family vacations, group functions and romantic getaways.

CityPass, Inc.: CityPass is designed for individual travelers to the United States and is a convenient and money-saving way to visit the most popular attractions in some of North America's greatest cities, while avoiding most ticket lines. The tickets provide information about each attraction including directions, operating hours and an insider tip on the best time visit. CityPass is good for nine days from the first day of use and will save pass holders up to 50 percent.

Disneyland Resort: Beginning May 5, 2005, the Disneyland Resort in California will host the "Happiest Celebration On Earth," commemorating 50 years of theme park magic. The celebration is a chance for the generations of guests to return and relive their memories of park visits with family and friends and includes the re-decorated Sleeping Beauty Castle, new "Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams" featuring the largest cast of Disney characters ever assembled, new fireworks, new "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters" attraction and new "Space Mountain" special effects. Disney Cruise Line will launch its first-ever west coast itinerary with cruises out of Los Angeles to the Mexican Rivera.

Hertz: Hertz is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company and the largest car rental company in the world, providing quality rental service for 80 years. Hertz is also the largest supplier of rented and leased heavy equipment in the world, and also provides truck and van rentals. Finally, Hertz sells one year-old vehicles from their rental fleet to make room for new models.

Hornblower Cruises & Events: Hornblower Cruises & Events is a 23-year-old company that has grown from a two-ship operation to a $30 million business featuring 25 yachts located in six ports throughout California. Hornblower is the market leader in each of its six ports offering both public/individual dining cruises and dining yacht charters.

 

 

Ironstone Vineyards: Ironstone Vineyards is located in the Sierra foothills in the gold rush town of Murphys. This seven-story premier winery and entertainment complex is a modern replica of an 1859 Gold Stamp Mill complete with tasting room and gourmet delicatessen, an aging cavern, conference facilities, outdoor amphitheatre and 14.5 acres of landscaped gardens. The Heritage Museum and Jewelry Shoppe contains artifacts from the gold rush era and the world's largest specimen of Crystalline Gold Leaf -- a 44-pound treasure uncovered just a few miles from the vineyards.

 

 

Los Angeles Inc., The Convention and Visitors Bureau: Many of the most famous people in the world make L.A. their home. Fashion trends start in L.A. boutiques. World cuisines combine to create delicious, new taste sensations. And when it's time to relax, L.A. celebrities enjoy some of the most luxurious spas imaginable. Los Angeles is the number one port of entry on the mainland U.S. for Japanese visitors. Whether it's the newest fashion, great prices or personal shopping on some of the most famous streets of L.A., visitors are treated famously during their stay.

 

 

Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau: Just two hours south of San Francisco on California's central coast, Monterey County offers 25 world-renowned golf courses, more than 40 premium wineries, unique cultural and historic attractions, outdoor recreation and some 200 festivals each year. Monterey County is also home to the National Steinbeck Center and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with over 30,000 marine animal and plant specimens including a Great White Shark new on display. Located in historic downtown Monterey is the Monterey Marriott, a 10-story, 341-room full service hotel within walking distance of the aquarium, Fisherman's Wharf and the beach.

 

 

San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau: San Diego is recognized as one of the leading vacation destinations in the world. The region is home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park and LEGOLAND California, the only LEGO theme park in North America. Downtown San Diego is an exciting, hip urban center with new hotels, shopping and entertainment complexes and the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Downtown offers PETCO Park, the new San Diego Padres' baseball stadium, and the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum.

San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park: The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals. Here visitors can view exotic animals in their naturalistic habitats including giant pandas, koalas, reptiles of various shapes and sizes and many more interesting species. New at the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is a lion exhibit, which brings people uncomfortably close to these large carnivores. The Photo Caravan Safaris take guests on a canopy-covered safari truck through the expansive enclosures of East and South Africa, the Asian Plains and Asian Waterhole for up-close photography opportunities of rare wildlife including rhinos, giraffes, cape buffalo, gazelles, wildebeest and more.

San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau: San Francisco has enjoyed a lasting relationship with Japan beginning in 1860 with the visit of the ship Kanrinmaru. Osaka became San Francisco's first sister city in 1957. San Francisco's restaurants, museums, shops and hotels are within walking distances. The city's famous landmarks include the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and SBC Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, North Beach, Chinatown and Union Square attract visitors worldwide.

 

 

San Francisco Marriott: The San Francisco Marriott is the 39-story luxury landmark hotel as diverse and popular as the city it serves. It is centrally located across from the Moscone Center and steps from Union Square, cable cars and a host of world-class museums and restaurants. In addition to offering one of San Francisco's largest and best-equipped meeting facilities, the San Francisco Marriott boasts a recent $35 million room renovation. The diverse, experienced staff and quality appointments embody the level of service and excellence that continues to make Marriott one of the most popular choices in hospitality.

SeaWorld San Diego: With more than 100 million visitors since opening in 1964, SeaWorld is one of San Diego's premier tourist attractions and one of the most popular marine parks in the world. Occupying 189 acres on Mission Bay Park, SeaWorld is known for its spectacular animal shows, interactive attractions, aquariums, rides and dining facilities.

 

 

United Airlines: United Airlines is the world's second largest airline and operates more than 3,500 flights per day to more than 200 U.S. and international destinations from its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. With key air rights in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, United is the largest international carrier in the United State.

Universal Studios Hollywood: Universal Studios Hollywood is the world's largest movie studio and theme park offering guests the ultimate Hollywood experience with movie-based attractions including the new Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster and a behind-the-scenes look at the world's largest working studio.

 

 

For more information about California and the delegates, call 916-444-4429.