Gilwee breaks down marketing stats for Mammoth Chamber
In an era of the incredibly shrinking budget, the California Travel and Tourism Commission, or CTTC, in conjunction with the California Department of Tourism is holding steady at a $50 million budget thanks to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This number was just one of many that CTTC Regional Marketing Representative Pettit Gilwee threw out to Mammoth Lakes Chamber members at their regular Tuesday luncheon this week.
“Love him or hate him, Schwarzenegger likes tourism,” Gilwee explained. That is why the governor raised the budget from $14 million to $50 million years ago.
Prior to the Governator, the California Dept. of Tourism received $7 million from tax dollars while the CTTC received $7 million from private funding. Together these dollars made up the $14 million. Today, because of the California Tourism Marketing Act in 1995, California businesses in the travel and tourism industry are assessed $650 for every $1 million in revenue. One percent of the $1 million has to come from tourism in order for the business to qualify for this assessment. As Gilwee stated, businesses in Mammoth Lakes cannot claim that at least 1 percent of what they make does not come from tourism and therefore the assessment plays a big part in the Mammoth lifestyle.
The assessment, according to Gilwee, is part of the law and is not voluntary. Every six years the businesses in the industry get to vote on whether or not they would like to continue the assessment. Approximately four year ago when the last vote was taken, approximately 91 percent of the businesses voted yes. When you look at the travel spending numbers in California, it’s not hard to see why.
According to Pettit, in 2008, travel spending in California brought in $96.7 billion. Fifty percent of those dollars came from in-state, 33 percent from out of state, and the remainder from international travelers. Assessed businesses automatically get posted to the CTTC’s website (www.visitcalifornia.com), which is the main portal to which the Commission sends people.
Businesses can also send in events that are coming up in their area to be posted to the site. There are other perks that can be accessed through the website and Gilwee encourages all businesses to check it out.
Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory sits on the CTTC and is currently its Vice Chair. According to Gilwee, Gregory is very vocal and is one of the main reasons that California now has a ski marketing program.
“This is our fifth year of the ski campaign,” Gilwee said. “It has produced 86,000 incremental trips to California and has an economic impact of $180 million. Obviously skiing is important.”
So important, in fact, that Mammoth Lakes was recently able to gain certification as a California Welcome Center, according to Gilwee.
“On average people extend their stay at a California Welcome Center location by three days,” she said.
In closing Gilwee stated that all of this information was probably innate knowledge, “but I just love when the numbers back it up.”