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A Year In Review FY21/22

Inspiring Travel to California

Visit California has worked furiously to inspire travel and accelerate recovery by innovating around consumer research and marketing, doubling down on sustainability and stewardship initiatives, and rallying the industry.

This year brought unprecedented opportunities with California’s $95 million state stimulus investment in tourism marketing. This supplement to the industry’s investment kept advertising on air and made possible a full 52-week, “always-on” marketing strategy that yielded a record $17.1 billion return on advertising spend in 2021.

This work, guided by the industry, is helping the industry achieve a full recovery and power through the challenges of tomorrow.

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A Wave of Inspiration

The Golden State’s abundance of unique experiences inspired consumers to reimagine what’s possible in California.

Paid Advertising Co-ops

Cooperative marketing programs expanded the reach of destinations and amplified the California brand with 50% matching dollars and free creative support.

42 Partners

Return of Live Events

California’s tourism industry reunited in-person for meetings, Outlook Forum, trade shows, media events, international missions and stakeholder engagements.


Supporting an Industrywide Recovery

Marketing Effectiveness

Domestic marketing campaigns created a 60% lift on likelihood to visit in fall 2021 and 105% in spring 2022, according to an independent analysis by SMARInsights. This resulted in a record $17.1 billion ad-influenced travel spending, exceeding prepandemic records and greatly accelerating the industry's economic recovery.

$17.1 Billion
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‘Meet what’s Possible’

The organization’s first dedicated B2B platform is bringing back professional meetings and events to California destinations that depend on group travel.

A year-round series of trade show activations, dedicated “Taste of California” roadshows and paid marketing delivered a “Meet what’s Possible” message and promoted California’s abundant and diverse venues to professional planners around the country.

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Restoring Gateway Tourism

A new urban core paid campaign layer was launched to accelerate the recovery of gateways.

Welcoming Back World Travelers

As global travel resumes and travel restrictions are lifted, welcoming back international travelers is a top priority for Visit California and essential to a full recovery. Over the last year, efforts focused on markets with the largest potential, which included Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. The year ahead will allow marketing in 14 global markets.

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Multiyear Recovery

Travel Spending Forecast

Visit California tourism marketing greatly increased visitation, shortening recovery. The latest economic forecast from Tourism Economics predicts a complete economic recovery in 2023 — a year earlier than projected in 2021.

    Source: Tourism Economics, May 2022 Forecast
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    California Tourism on the Rebound

    California’s resilient tourism industry outpaced travel spending forecasts but still faces some economic headwinds on the road to a full, statewide recovery.

    Gateway cities have faced a steeper uphill climb out of the pandemic due to slower recovery of international visitation and professional meetings and events — areas where Visit California has increased marketing efforts.

    • $100.2B Visitor Spending (+46.3% YOY)
    • $9.8B State and Local Tax Revenue
    • 927100 Jobs

    Source: Dean Runyan Associates, 2021 Economic Impact of Travel in California


    Expenditures & Impact

    Expenditure Efficiency

    According to an audit, 95.1% of Visit California’s budget goes directly to marketing programs, with 4.9% going to operational costs. Nonprofit organizations average between 20% and 35% toward operational costs.

    95.1% Marketing Programs
    4.9% Operations
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    By the Numbers

    Marketing activity across paid, owned, earned media and travel trade channels accelerated recovery, increased brand awareness and brand health, and increased travel spending in every state region.

    • Paid
    • Owned
    • Earned Media
    • Travel Trade
    • $95M Investment
    • 5.4B Impressions
    • 105.2M Households reached
    • 18.3M Unique visitors to VISITCALIFORNIA.COM
    • 3M Social media followers
    • 600+ New Content Pieces
    • 21M E-newsletters sent
    • 4.5M Partner handoffs
    • 150,000 Podcast downloads
    • 1500 Placements
    • 60 Influencers hosted
    • 2B Global Impressions
    • 28.9M Estimated influencer reach
    • 67 Media hosted
    • 1200+ Travel advisor appointments
    • 11 Events attended
    • 4000+ Travel advisor database

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    Submit Content

    Be part of the California story and submit ideas for free exposure on a global scale. More than 80% of content submitted is placed across digital and print owned channels.


    Access Research

    Data and insights are available at no cost to industry partners — including economic impact, visitation and spending forecasts, monthly lodging reports and lodging forecasts, air passenger data, and more.


    FY21/22 Annual Report

    Visit California produces a more comprehensive version of this annual report. Download or request a full-length print copy.


    FY22/23 Marketing Plan

    Visit California’s strategic planning document, including insights vision and direction for the fiscal year ahead.