Newport Beach & Co. President and CEO Gary Sherwin, and VP of Marketing Development, Ruby Gualberto joined a contingent of OC travel and tourism industry leaders to promote tourism to the people of China.
Sherwin and Gualberto joined executives of the Anaheim and Costa Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureaus, Marriott Hotels, Red Lion Hotels, Disneyland Resorts on the mission which featured press conferences, sales calls, and meetings.
The delegation hoped to capitalize on the easing of visa restrictions for Chinese travelers to the U.S. and the continued strength of the Chinese economy.
An estimated 2 million Chinese visitors are expected to travel to the U.S. this year, a 25 percent increase over last year. By 2017, the volume is expected to double to 4 million visitors. We will have more in depth numbers from the Southern California Visitor Industry Outlook Conference in next month’s newsletter.
Building on the momentum achieved since opening its first sales office in Shanghai, China earlier this year, the Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) announced three new initiatives designed to attract Chinese visitors to Orange County in 2014 and beyond.
These initiatives are:
- The opening of a second sales office in Beijing later this year
- Special 2014 room rates for visitors from China at selected hotels and resorts throughout Orange County
- A new Chinese-language website for Orange County to be launched in the first quarter of 2014.
“Attracting visitors from China is a major component of our overall strategic marketing plan for the Association and we’re thrilled by the positive response we’ve had in China since opening our Shanghai office,” said Sherwin, who also serves as OCVA’s Chairman. “China continues to be our single best opportunity and we are determined to ensure that those Chinese visitors who are interested in discovering California know about Orange County and all the wonderful attractions and activities we have to offer.”
The delegation spent a week meeting with Chinese tourism officials and travel planners to solidify and enhance established relationships, build new alliances and to better understand how to better serve Chinese visitors.
In addition to opening its second sales office in China, selected members of the Association have come together to ensure that their hotels and resorts are within economic reach of as many future Chinese visitors as possible. This includes special value-oriented room rates to appeal to Chinese travelers. 28 hotels across Orange County are currently participating in the special rate program. Newport Beach hotels interested in participating in the program can contact Gualberto via email at Ruby@newportbeachandco.com.
The special rates will be available in the luxury, moderate and economy tiers. All will be offered double occupancy, tax included, and virtually all will offer breakfast for two.
The OCVA will also launch a new tourism information website targeting Chinese travelers in the first quarter of 2014. The new site is part of OCVA’s goal to make it easier for international visitors to access information about Orange County on-line and to present Orange County’s tourism story in a way potential travelers in the targeted country are most accustomed to receiving it.
“China is our fourth largest off-shore international market and we are singularly intent on growing this market exponentially,” said OCVA President Ed Fuller. “With an estimated four million Chinese visitors expected to come annually to the U.S. within the next four years, we want to ensure these future travelers know everything there is to know about Orange County’s many exciting and appealing attractions, special events and activities and what sets us apart from other destinations in California.”
The new site will link with www.visittheoc.org for additional information and booking guidance.