07/24/2014 11:20AM ● Published by Jon Lewis
Redding Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tourism opportunities in the Redding area are such an embarrassment of riches, the four-member crew promoting them at the Convention and Visitors Bureau must feel like they’re behind the counter of a giant candy store in a world full of kids.
There’s a lot of everything in this neck of the woods, including the woods. Hiking, biking and kayaking? In spades. Climbing, camping and skiing? Can do. Fishing, spelunking and houseboating? Step right up. Fairs and festivals your thing? You found the right spot.
The word is getting out, too, thanks in large part to the bureau’s efforts, but there’s another reason Redding has a prominent place on the tourism map. “We promote the assets to get people to come to Redding,” says Laurie Baker, the bureau’s CEO. “Once they get here, it’s the people who are here that get them to come back.”
Visitor feedback supports Baker’s findings, says Krista Buckel, the bureau’s marketing manager. “We get to hear the positives all the time. We hear great stories of people who visit the area.” Satisfied customers are checking in via email, Facebook comments, phone calls and in person at trade shows, Buckel says.
Happy visitors are more likely to be repeat visitors, and when tourists continue to visit, good things happen.
The primary focus of the bureau is to get folks into Redding hotels, which generates transient occupancy tax revenues for the city. Redding uses a portion of this money to fund the non-profit Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, which is the bureau’s parent organization, and the rest goes to the general fund.
In short, when a family from Southern California comes up to admire the Sundial Bridge, get in a little stand-up paddling, hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park and walk the Sacramento River Trail, they’re giving Redding taxpayers a bit of a break.
Tourism is big business in California—travel spending in the state reached an estimated $109 billion in 2013 and supported some 917,000 jobs—and it’s a big economic driver in the North State as well.
Last year, visitors to the eight-county Shasta Cascade region spent $931 million and supported some 11,500 jobs while generating $15 million in local taxes and $39 million worth of state tax. In Redding alone, there were an estimated 1.2 million hotel room nights sold, Baker says.
In Shasta County, the California Travel and Tourism Commission reports travel spending of $389 million and the support of 4,260 jobs. Some $6.9 million in local taxes were generated along with $16.3 million in state taxes.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau has a large role in keeping those numbers growing and for years its marketing efforts have focused on Redding serving as the hub for popular day-trip destinations like Lassen, Mt. Shasta, Shasta Lake and Whiskeytown.
Buckel says the bureau has recently started touting the virtues of city life. “Now we’re looking inside Redding,” she says, referring to campaigns that highlight Redding’s blue-ribbon fishery, its extensive trail network and its status as a hotbed of stand-up paddleboarding.
“Our goal is to be known for paddleboard events,” says Baker. “Look at the Sacramento River: it’s not whitewater, it’s perfect for paddleboarding, and we’ve got that blue ribbon going through our town. We’re marketing that to Southern California.”
Through its web site, www.visitredding.com, and its Facebook page, the bureau drums up interest in local events like the recent 10th anniversary celebration for the Sundial Bridge and outdoorsy affairs like the Shasta Lemurian mountain bike race and the Return of the Salmon Festival.
National media is helping to get the word out as well, Buckel says. Peter Greenberg, CBS’ travel editor, recently listed Redding as one of five “escape the city” destinations; Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio correspondent, gushed about Redding’s outdoor recreation opportunities on his “Journeys of Discovery” program; and both the Food Network and Travel Channel have aired programs highlighting the North State’s burgeoning wine industry.
“We’ve been able to get attention we haven’t had before,” Buckel says.
In partnership with Brand USA and VisitCalifornia, the bureau is continuing to spread the good word to regional markets in Southern California, San Francisco, Washington and Oregon. Baker, Buckel and Chad New, the bureau’s director of industry relations and sales, also are crossing borders to reach international markets in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.
For free brochures and visitor information, visit the Turtle Bay Store & Coffee Bar, 844 Sundial Bridge Drive or call (530) 225-4100