In the beginning, back in the spring of 2013, there were plenty of critics. “Why would anyone want to visit the San Jacinto Valley?” was asked many times by community members.
But those people asking didn’t understand tourism, didn’t understand all that the valley offers for people outside the area, and they didn’t understand the economic potential that a tourism program could bring to the valley. A core group of roughly 30 people did understand though, and throughout that spring the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program was born.
Fast-forward to today and valley residents can proudly say that the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program is an “award winning” program having recently won 2 economic development awards ~ one regional and one statewide. At a time when more businesses were closing than opening and the country was economically stagnant, it was unheard of for new tourism programs to develop, much less a tourism program that was a public/private partnership. That idea, coupled with data from the State of California’s Travel Impact statistics that shows strong tourism growth in the Valley over the past several months, have brought plenty attention to the program. Visitors only need to look at www.visitsanjacintovalley.com to see that a wide variety of tourism and recreational opportunities are found here. Couple that with the current national tourism trend of “rural tourism” and Visit San Jacinto Valley has a bright future ahead of it.
Visit San Jacinto Valley nears end of second year
June 2015 marks the official end of the second year of Visit San Jacinto Valley. This year, for the second year, Visit San Jacinto Valley took part in a co-op Inland Empire ad placed in Visit California’s Visitor Guide. The guide is the main tourism promotional piece for California and millions of people see the ad annually. In addition, Visit San Jacinto Valley does receive names and emails of people wishing to find out more about the valley from that ad. This year too, an online publication, 52 Perfect Days, contacted Visit San Jacinto Valley and asked if the group could provide 52 things to do in the San Jacinto Valley. It worked out so well that soon these 52 things will be seen around the valley as a new brochure.
Speaking of brochures…..you’ll soon see racks around both cities and in outlying areas filled with San Jacinto Valley information. The marketing committee for Visit San Jacinto Valley is establishing a valley-wide rack card program to make it easy for visitors to pick up information about all there is to see and do.
Last year we hosted Snowbird blogger Deb Thompson for 5 weeks in the valley. Her blog posts and daily updates brought much needed national attention to the area. She left before seeing Ramona so she just came back and got to experience Ramona first hand. Needless to say, she’ll be helping get the word out about the pageant via her audience over the next several months.
Have you connect with Visit San Jacinto Valley via Facebook and Twitter?
Visit San Jacinto Valley has a very active presence on both Facebook and Twitter. It’s worth noting that in addition to visitors interacting on the sites, there is a robust local component too. Community engagement is key to a strong destination marketing effort and the valley is very engaged on these social media sites.
The past two years have laid a strong foundation for the Visit San Jacinto Valley program. It has been funded by public and private funds, but those limited funds cannot sustain the effort in the long run. So with that in mind a new membership program is being developed with various membership levels to keep the program sustainable year after year. Successful tourism programs are generally independent entities and that is the end goal for the program. There are very few businesses in the valley that are not touched in some way by tourism. It is said nationally that a tourist dollar turns over at least 7 times in a community. Visit San Jacinto Valley’s mission is to encourage tourism in the valley and as a result bring economic prosperity to all who live and work here.