The Travel Forecast

July 18, 2019

Workforce Development Board Survey Released

Recently, VSCC assisted the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board with outreach efforts to the local tourism and hospitality industry in an effort to survey hospitality employers about the region’s tourism workforce.  The Workforce Development Board forms strategies that help businesses, individuals and industries achieve and sustain economic vitality across all Santa Cruz County.  The aim of the survey – conducted by an independent consultant – was to determine what hospitality-related employers can do to retain and develop workers, identify opportunities to support small businesses and entrepreneurship in Santa Cruz County’s Tourism and Hospitality sector, and examine how local issues are affecting the quality of life for those employed by the tourism industry. Here are some top-line findings of the survey:

The survey predicted a positive future for Tourism and Hospitality in Santa Cruz County. It also identified that two of the three economic forecast scenarios expect 3 to 6 percent employment growth through 2021. A national or international recession is the most likely scenario to negatively impact the sector through 2021.

Opportunities identified in the survey include:

  • Complimenting countywide strengths (Natural Recreation Resources, F&B, Attractions)
  • Close but separate from Silicon Valley & Bay Area
  • Bridging opportunities with UCSC & related education, enrichment & relaxation conferences

The survey also found that the county’s natural recreation resources, strong food and beverage firms, and key local attractions all play a foundational role in the quality of life found countywide. Issues such as homelessness, traffic, transportation, and the high cost of living were already identified as key issues impacting the industry and also impact the region’s quality of life.

A downloadable PDF version of the survey report is available here.

Workforce Development in Santa Cruz County offers business assistance for worker training, recruitment, labor market research, and a confidential rapid response to layoffs. Interested in learning more? Click here!

VSCC Gears Up for Fall Festival Series

With September just around the corner, VSCC is preparing to promote post-summer season events with its annual Fall Festival Series.  Fewer crowds, lower hotel rates and some of the year’s best weather can be found throughout the fall. Since the autumn months are packed full of things to do for locals and visitors, this annual marketing campaign is designed to increase the visitors’ awareness of fall events and activities.

Signature events will be promoted through several key marketing avenues, including television, digital, media relations, and social media efforts. Television spots on Comcast in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and the Central Valley will coincide with aggressive online digital efforts throughout the fall.  Meanwhile, the campaign will be promoted on social media, including Facebook and on VSCC’s blog at and through a monthly visitor e-newsletter.

The Fall Festival Series is actively promoted through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and will have an expanded presence on Co-promotion is encouraged through VSCC’s collaboration with over 100 local hotels countywide. For more information, contact VSCC.  Let’s Cruz!

More VSCC Partner Coverage from Visit California Australia and Quantas Airlines’ Q-Influencers

The multi-level promotion with Qantas Airlines and two influencers who are part of the “Q Collective” – Qantas Airlines’ roster of influencer ambassadors – continues!  The latest content featuring Visit Santa Cruz County partners was activated recently, with support from Visit California’s Australia office. Australia has been identified as the third largest inbound overseas market for Santa Cruz County.

While the first activation focused on Santa Cruz surf culture, the second rollout focuses on the redwood forests of our area with Epic Outdoor Adventures, and features social media influencers Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn – both former MasterChef Australia contestants and household names in Australia – ziplining at Mount Hermon Redwood Adventures, mountain biking with The Ride Guides, in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, and visiting other forested points of interest in the area

Content creation focused on positioning Santa Cruz County as a premiere “beyond the gateway” destination.  In total, five videos were produced, with distribution spanning across Qantas, Visit California, and various influencer channels. 

In addition to Dan and Hayden’s Instagram audiences – with over 100,000 followers combined – the content is currently being distributed as follows:

  • Qantas Facebook page – reach of 1.4 million likes/followers
  • Qantas Travel Insider native content – 775,000 average page visits per month
  • Visit California channel distribution: Australia/NZ Facebook page (88,000 reach) + electronic direct mail (EDM) content and website                     

These efforts are being supported by $20k digital media spend targeting Qantas Frequent Flyers. The call to action will be to book flights to California. 

Arrivals and Departures

Welcome Dan Razeghi, new General Manager of the Fairfield Inn Santa Cruz! And congrats & farewell to Chip – formerly with the Downtown Association in Santa Cruz – who is taking over as CEO of the Downtown Boulder Partnership in Colorado. 

In Memoriam

Lou Bartfield, the owner and “creator” of the present-day Capitola Venetian Hotel and father-in-law of hotelier and VSCC board member Steve Allen, passed away last December.  Lou developed and operated many successful properties over the course of his career, including seven hotels, four of which were in Santa Cruz County.  Read about this fascinating industry veteran here. 

Happy 40th Anniversaries!

Arts Council Santa Cruz County is celebrating 40 years of creativity in Santa Cruz County in 2019!  And Lotus Management Inc, is marking their 40th year in the industry and has released a refreshed, modern company logo. Lotus Management operates the Super 8 and the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Santa Cruz, Four Points by Sheraton Scotts Valley, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Watsonville.

What You Need to Know when Traveling in California During Fire Season

With fires having swept through prime tourist destinations in past seasons, CalFire has some suggestions on how you can take basic precautions if you’re planning to travel to fire-prone areas this summer. Click here to find out what they are. 


that a new disc golf course has been opened at the Boulder Creek Golf Club? This nine-hole, par 39 course features a par 5 hole over 940 feet. Come out and play!