The Travel Forecast

January 31, 2022

Visit Santa Cruz County Announces New CEO

Following a formal and thorough executive search and interview process, Michael Martelon has been named Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of Visit Santa Cruz County (VSCC). Michaelwill begin his duties today, January 31, 2022. He has extensive experience in leading a destination marketing organization, including a tenure of nearly 11 years as President and CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board. Michael’s experience in a leadership position with a destination marketing organization and his background with branding and marketing communications were salient factors for the VSCC CEO/Executive Vice President Search Committee, formed to review candidates and ultimately make a recommendation to the VSCC Board of Directors. The Committee is made up of hoteliers, tourism-related business representatives, and VSCC board and community members.

In his previous position in Telluride, Michael was responsible for the leadership, direction, management, and policy oversight of the destination including marketing and human and capital resources. He led all tourism-related and other relevant economic development in the county and the business community and pioneered an analytics campaign which served as a foundation for the Telluride Tourism Board’s marketing efforts.

Michael will work with staff to promote visitation to Santa Cruz County, with a particular focus on the shoulder season – the months between Labor Day and Memorial Day – to draw overnight travelers to the region through marketing and promotional programs and public relations efforts.

Some of Michael’s immediate duties will be to outreach to local industry leaders and stakeholders, update the VSCC three-year marketing plan, oversee the annual spring campaign, and move forward with the board’s decision with regard to the production and distribution of the 2023 Official Santa Cruz County Traveler’s Guide, which was paused for two years due to the pandemic. One of his priorities in this position he said, will be to elevate the Santa Cruz County brand to stay competitive with larger beach destinations. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver and is a Certified Hospitality Marketing Executive.

VSCC Announces Advertising Opportunities in Sixth Edition of Wildlife Watching Guide

There are approximately 400 migratory and permanent bird species found throughout Santa Cruz County, and thousands of monarch butterflies, whales, and elephant seals that call the area home on a seasonal basis.  ow, local businesses have an opportunity to reach avid wildlife viewers in the sixth edition of VSCC’s Wildlife Watching Guide. 

Half-page and full-panel ad spaces are available in the free guide, which is promoted through advertising efforts in Bay Nature magazine, and Birdwatching magazine’s print and online versions will begin in the fall. The newly revised and updated guide will be printed in June.

VSCC supplies the free guide locally and online

For advertising information, contact Sales and Marketing Director Flavia Oliveira

Santa Cruz County Featured in the California Mission Trail Auto Tour Program

Supporting VSCC’s Heritage Tourism Initiative, local historically significant points of interest are featured in a new promotional program developed by the Oregon-California Trails Association, (OCTA) a nonprofit organization designed to preserving and protecting emigrant trails and the emigrant experience in the United States. A new brochure, the California Mission Trail Auto Tour features the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, the Santa Cruz Mountains and Roaring Camp Railroads, West Cliff Drive, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, and Natural Bridges State Park and Beach.

The 2022 California’s Mission Trail Auto Tour includes the 21 Historic Missions of California from San Diego to Sonoma Valley, highlighting communities along the way – including Mission Santa Cruz, the 12th Franciscan mission

The brochure – which includes a map – will be featured prominently online and have been provided to state travel information centers, community visitor welcome centers, museums, attractions, hotels, visitor bureaus, state parks, and state tourism offices to distribute when open. It will also be featured on the OCTA website.

The OCTA is the nation’s largest and most influential organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of overland emigrant trails and the emigrant pioneer experience.

VSCC Accepting Board Nominations

VSCC and its Nominating Task Force are soliciting nominations to the Board of Directors. VSCC is governed by a twenty-five member Board of Directors comprised of representatives of various regions of the county, thirteen lodging seats, and a cross-section of representatives of businesses, cultural, governmental, and organizations with affiliation to the travel and tourism industry. Responsibilities include participation in the governance of the organization, general advocacy for the tourism industry, and active participation at board meetings held six times per year. Board members serve for two terms. Click here to download an application form. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 24, 2022.  

Santa Cruz Mountains Featured in the New York Times

Santa Cruz County’s redwood forests and state parks were included in writer Annelise Sorensen’s piece “52 Places for a Changed World” in the Sunday New York Times’ January 16th issue. Included in the story were the Cotoni-Coast National Monument and the ancestral sites of the Indigenous Cotoni people. This story was generated by writer Annalise Sorensen who contacted VSCC last fall for information.

Arrivals and Departures

Welcome Asif Mahamud, new General Manager of the Hotel Solares, and to Elizabeth Kramer, new Manager of the Fern River Resort! And Dawn Aronson is the new Director of Sales for Hyatt Place Santa Cruz. Dawn will oversee all client relations, group contracting, sales plans, and promotions. Welcome, Dawn! SCC Board Member Karley Pope has been promoted to Director of Marketing and Sales for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – way to go, Karley!

Face Masks and Sanitizer Available

To support the recent face-covering mandate issued by the County Health Services Agency, a limited supply of disposable face masks and hand sanitizer are available to VSCC partners for the upcoming holiday season. Masks are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be picked up at VSCC’s offices, 303 Water Street Ste 100 in Santa Cruz, Monday – Wednesday. Advanced arrangements must be made. Email VSCC if you would like a supply.  

Did you know……

that the California Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2022 Hospitality Foundation scholarship season begins tomorrow, Tuesday, February 1st? The aim of the Foundation is to identify and reward the best and brightest of the hospitality and tourism industry’s next generation of leaders. Last year, CHLA gave out $155,000 to 45 promising college students bound for the hospitality industry. If you or someone you know are enrolled in a hospitality or tourism program in California, click here for more information on how to apply.

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