Friday, January 9, 2009

Vallejo pins hopes on state tourism promotion in China

Vallejo pins hopes on state tourism promotion in China
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 01/09/2009 01:04:31 AM PST

Vallejo tourism officials hope the city will benefit from the establishment of a California tourism office in China, agency officials said Thursday.

The California Travel and Tourism Commission opened an office in China to promote group travel here, the agency announced. Since they will especially focus on "selling" theme parks and other attractions, Vallejo tourism officials hope to benefit both as the home of one of the state's few theme parks and as a central and less expensive place from which to visit San Francisco and the wine country.

"We're a member of the CTTC, and it's a wonderful organization," said Mike Browne, Vallejo Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director. "If they're going to promote tourism in California, and specifically theme parks, I doubt they'll overlook the largest theme park in Northern California, and one of the most unique parks in the state."

Susan Wilcox, CTTC spokeswoman, said it's not unreasonable for local attractions including Discovery Kingdom to expect an increase in Chinese visitors as a result of these new efforts.

"It's the role of the tourism commission to promote all of California in order to grow the pot, so to speak, for the entire area," she said.

The CTTC appointed East Communications Inc. as its sales and public relations representation office in the People's Republic of China, according to the agency's announcement.

China is the seventh international tourism office for California, following the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Germany and Mexico.

Group leisure travel to the United States from China began in 2008 following a historic bilateral agreement between the two governments, according to the announcement.

In 2007, 227,000 Chinese visited California and spent about $327 million, the announcement notes. According to the World Tourism Organization, China will have 100 million outbound travelers by 2015. Global visitation to California generates $16.7 billion, or 17 percent of overall tourism spending in the state.

For more information about the CTTC and for a free California vacation packet, go to

E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at or call 553-6824.