Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau promotes
visits to one-of-a-kind SCRV

June 25, 2014
Santa Paula News

The Chamber of Commerce learned Santa Paula is among the prime places for tourists to be for visits promoted by the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau (HVTB), its Executive Director Talia Wunder told guests at the June Good Morning Santa Paula breakfast meeting.

According to GMSP Emcee and Chamber Board Director Marilyn Appleby, when it comes to summer fun the Santa Clara River Valley, marketed as the Heritage Valley, is the place to be.

Wunder told the GMSP crowd the HVTB was formed in 1997 when a tour of river valley communities by professional travel agents resulted in high marks.

Said Wunder, “One-hundred-percent said they would recommend,” a visit to the area based on its offerings ranging from history and culture to outdoor recreation, landmarks and architecture such as that found in Santa Paula’s historic Downtown.

The Heritage Valley - AKA Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru - was found to be a prime area to “Try to grab those visiting other places and get them to do a day-trip,” that was different as well as close-by. 

What was needed was coordination and marketing: forming the HVTB involved garnering input from the communities and citizen involvement as well as formal endorsements and financial support from businesses and other stakeholders including cities themselves. Such financial support is what pays marketing costs.

Now, Fillmore, Piru, Rancho Camulos, Ventura and beyond are active partners and Wunder said Santa Paula is being urged to again formally take part in the organization.

Initially, Santa Paula donated annually to the bureau but as the recession took hold stopped its contribution: member cities are asked to contribute $5,000 for formal membership.

But no town is left behind: Wunder noted Santa Paula is featured in marketing materials.

“The impacts of tourism,” often come as a surprise to people when they learn it means billions to the state economy.

Equally important said Wunder, is “People love it here... I’m also the Santa Paula filming liaison and you wouldn’t believe how often I hear,” people from the film companies say, “They would love to buy a house here. I met a woman who lives in Santa Clarita and she loves the drive here, drives out here to go to the movies just because she loves the drive,” on Highway 126 through the serene Santa Clara River (Heritage) Valley.

Statewide, “One in every eight jobs is supported one way or another by travel,” and there is a whopping $2.3 billion a day in tourism-related revenue.

“We’re just trying to tap into a tiny, teeny portion of that and bring it to the valley,” revenue that Wunder said the cycle of visitors provides that boosts city halls with occupancy taxes, generates sales taxes and keeps small and large businesses in the black as well as creating jobs. 

When it comes to the HVTB Wunder said, “We support our brand, all of our attractions are what we focus on,” with promotions ranging from its detailed and lively website to its Facebook page, print advertising and brochures that are distributed specifically to where eager to try something new tourists would look.

The HVTB also staffs informational booths at special events with plenty of literature about the beauty and attractions - including Santa Paula’s array of museums and murals among other sights - of the river valley.

“The tourism bureau,” said Wunder, “spends about $20,000 to $25,000 a year on marketing,” the Heritage Valley to the world.

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