Cultural Tourism, Preserve America and LA Travel Show

March 10, 2010

By Jeanne Orcutt

What do Chico and Tourism have in common?  The 6th Annual Cultural & Heritage Tourism Symposium!

In January I attended a very informative three-day symposium on how to “Drive tourism to your Cultural and Heritage assets” located in charming Chico. For those of you unsure of where Chico is, just think of taking the 5 Fwy north to Sacramento and keep going for another hour and a half.  There you are just below snow-capped mountains in a quaint college town with a Starbucks, but we attendees didn’t see much outside since we were there to listen and learn.  

First, let me give you background. The California Cultural & Heritage Tourism Corps (CCHTC) is the force behind this symposium and CCHTC was born in association with the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), which is the sponsor of the commercial you see on TV with different actors promoting California ending with Arnold Schwartzenegger and his wife at a table urging us to visit California. 

Here are some facts you should know:

California is the #1 tourist destination in the U.S., employs nearly 1 million people and generates a whopping $5.8 billion in state and local tax revenues. 

Don’t you think tourism is important for our economy?  It sure is!

Then, what is this ‘Cultural Heritage’ tourism and why is that important?  

Cultural Heritage is just what it sounds like, your heritage.  And since most heritage has some kind of culture, there it is!  Santa Paula has a fantastic amount of Cultural Heritage!  Now, the question is, who, besides us Santa Paulans are interested in Santa Paula’s Cultural Heritage?  Well, let me tell you who is:

Out of 118.3 million adult leisure travelers, 78% are seeking cultural heritage. That means what we have here in Santa Paula is very desirable for travelers!

Now with the recent opening of the Santa Paula Art Museum, the upcoming opening of the Museum of Ventura County Farm Museum, the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula (now located in a String of Hangers with a new exhibit space on the horizon), the stunning Murals of Santa Paula, the riveting Santa Paula Theater Center, the Santa Paula Historical Society, De Colores Arts Festival, Fandango, our beloved California Oil Museum and much, much more, there is a mind boggling amount of cultural heritage in Santa Paula!

How do we get these travelers to notice us? Well, here are some avenues we explored in our workshops: Cross promote, advertise, press releases, e-mail, newsletters are all given, but what about Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Blogs?  It’s the best way to get information to your customers/visitors and stay connected with them.  

Think I am wrong?  3.5 billion pieces of content - billion! - are shared each week. I don’t think I am going to ignore that.

In other workshops we learned everything from how to build itineraries, resources for submitting content such as the California Tourism Website (CTTC) for free, and other very helpful websites.

The speakers during the day were superb. Dan Marriott gave a great presentation on historic roads and byways over California with a history lesson on the building of our roads. We learned how to better access, market and manage the scenic gateway routes to your community.

Richard Peterson from the California Academy of Sciences gave a wonderful presentation on how museums can use new approaches and tactics for promoting their cultural institutions with an inside look at the Academy of Sciences and all they are working towards.

We heard from Jim Conkle, the man behind the promotion of Route 66 and his passion for preserving the historic route and his inspiration to preserving an historic route in your area.  Route 66 fact:  Did you know Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye when he fell asleep and drove off the route?

A great panel of now laid-off journalists told how they have had to change the way they work. They have had to use creativity and strategy to get the message to the masses. Some great quotes came out of this changing times such as “When the going gets weird, the weird goes pro” and “We have to be our own storytellers.”  One journalist said, “Today it is no longer ‘stories,’ it is ‘content’. It is no longer our ‘readers,’ it’s our ‘audience.’ “

Although the journalists could have been bitter, they were surviving and doing very well and willing to share their experiences of how they have adapted in this ever-changing world economic crisis and its impacts on the media.

Finally, the crescendo to these inspiring three days - where you couldn’t have thought there could be anything better than what we just attended - and to our wonderment was a man who appeared like a ray of sunshine (great analogy for California) ... our own Huell Howser, California’s ultimate promoter himself!  Speaking to us with his warm and inviting Tennessee accent, Huell reminded us of all we should be thankful for in California ... with our oceans to surf in, our mountains to ski on and our great valleys of agriculture, there is no better spot on earth. That is why more people visit California than any other state in the U.S.!  

If you have questions for me, please look me up on Facebook.  Twitter and You tube are coming soon!  Jeanne Orcutt, City of Santa Paula, California Oil Museum  805-933-0076 ext 291


Preserve America and LA Travel Show

Heard Santa Paula has been designated a Preserve America Community? Well, then you also heard we are now eligible for grants offered to Preserve America Communities such as Santa Paula.  

Here are the facts: More than $20 million in Preserve America matching grants has been awarded to 259 projects throughout the country since 2006 to support community efforts to demonstrate sustainable uses of their historic and cultural sites, focusing on economic and educational opportunities related to heritage tourism. Grant amounts range from $20,000 to $250,000.

The latest application deadline was February 12, 2010; grant awards will be announced in the spring.

And this is what we did. Elisabeth Amador, Assistant to the City Manager and I put together a grant request under the specific guidelines given. We decided the best request would be for marketing Santa Paula’s Cultural Heritage assets such as the oil museum, art museum, farm museum, airport museum, murals, theater center, downtown shopping and restaurants, historic depot, the many festivals and events, and the 31 historic designations in Santa Paula.  Marketing these assets to tourists drawing them to Santa Paula can be done in a few different ways. We asked for funds for signage, kiosks, new website design using the existing with upgrades such as PDF downloads and PDA accessible, new brochures for Santa Paula, advertising in major newspapers and magazines and website advertising.

Here is the catch: Whatever we ask for in contributions needs to be matched by non-federal funds. Ouch! 

Knowing how important this would be for Santa Paula, we were not discouraged by what we may not be able to raise.  Instead we were confident that our community would rally together to raise the funds needed to bring visitors to our great city!    


Los Angeles Times Travel Show 

February 13 and 14 wasn’t only meant for Valentines Day OR the opening of the fabulous Santa Paula Art Museum. It was also the annual LA Travel Show! 

My first time attending and working the event, I saw humungous crowds of hungry travelers, looking for the next great adventure. With the help of the Ventura Tourism Bureau, Santa Paula was well represented by myself for Santa Paula’s museum’s, events, murals and historic downtown and Carla Edwards for Limoneira Co. and the upcoming 3rd Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival. 

Take a quick look at the more than 20,000 upscale, travel-minded people who attended the 2009 Travel & Adventure Show:

* 51% of those attending were repeat visitors to the Travel & Adventure Show, spending an average of 3.5 hours at the event. 

* Over 76% of Travel Show attendees spent $2,500 or more on personal travel; over 45% spent $5,000 or more. 

* The average household income of Travel & Adventure Show attendees is $99,000 

Was this good for Santa Paula? An astounding yes!! I handed out over 200 brochures and flyers on Santa Paula’s cultural assets each day. That was just myself! Spoke to many people and handed out gifts such as lemons to encourage people to visit. My two daughters dressed up in costumes and walked around the event handing out flyers, too. They were quite a hit!  

A few of us from Ventura County worked together and cross-promoted but my goal is to have our own booth for Santa Paula next year. We are working on a section of Ventura County booths along with Santa Clarita, Fillmore & Western, Santa Paula, Ventura, Ojai and Oxnard to be all together in the same row, to make it easier for prospective visitors to find us all and see what we have all have to offer them. For next year’s Los Angeles Travel Show, the biggest in the west, I will be asking each museum, the Chamber of Commerce and special event chairs to help us in manning the booth as well as for financial contributions so we can all fully take advantage of this great promotional opportunity for Santa Paula! 


Contact Jeanne Orcutt, City of Santa Paula, California Oil Museum 805-933-0076 Ext 291 or e-mail

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