By Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California
Barbeques, pool parties, fun in the sun. To many Americans these are iconic summertime experiences. And while summer in California is filled with lazy days on the beach and fun splashing poolside, the Golden State holds so much more for summer travelers. As visitors learn more about California and its diverse offerings, more and more choose to head out of the cities to explore many expressions of the California lifestyle. This hunger for all things California forecasts a big boom for agritourism in Paso Robles this summer.
Californians are free-spirits, trend setters and innovators, but are also in touch with their roots. The curiosity about how food is grown and the desire for new experiences attract visitors to enjoy farmers’ and ranchers’ lands and livelihoods. Visit California, the state’s official tourism marketing board, sees agritourism as a valuable sector that supports the local and state economy by providing jobs and revenue.
Agritourism activities in and surrounding Paso Robles aren’t hard to come by. Paso Robles kicks off summer with theCalifornia Mid-State Fair, an agricultural based fair showcasing farmers, ranchers, and the local wine and artisan food scene in Paso Robles, as well as a high profile line up of music performersa concert series attracting music lovers and thrill seekers from neighboring communities and those visiting the area. Along with concertsthe fair, food and wine festivals such as the Central Coast Lavender Festival, and the Paso Robles Olive Festival, both free to attend, draw visitors to Paso Robles increasing hotel stays, dining, shopping and other extra visiting expenditures.
Located in the Central Coast region, one of California’s popular tourist destinations, Paso Robles benefits from agritourism. In 2011, tourism in the Central Coast injected more than $6 billion in direct travel spending into the local economy, directly supported more than 68,000 jobs and generated $416 million in local tax and fee revenue, according to research by Visit California.
Visit California markets the California experience and the California lifestyle– cuisine, wine, music, adventure and more – to travelers on a national and international level. California is the top travel destination in the United States and is ranked as the largest agriculture producing state in the country. As you can imagine, we have a great opportunity to benefit from visitor spending in agritourism. And next time you go to these events, think of it as your personal contribution to the local economy.
Visit California (formerly known as the California Travel & Tourism Commission) is 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 as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures total $102.3 billion annually in California (20 percent of which is international), support jobs for 893,000 Californians and generates $6.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California go to www.visitcalifornia.com.
Caroline Beteta's blog is a part of the Travel Paso Robles Alliance guest blogger series.