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Preserve California’s Resources

Considerations for Sustainable Strategies


Tourism organizations — particularly those that have been very successful — are re-thinking their missions to shift from destination marketing to destination management. The refocus results from a growing understanding of the need to balance a successful visitor economy with other factors, such as the quality of life for residents, impacts on the environment and increased demands on infrastructure.

Managing a destination is a far more complex undertaking than marketing one. It requires a different mindset, expanded skills, and effective partnerships with a variety of outside organizations. The successful management of a destination preserves the visitor economy for many years to come—resulting in tourism that is sustainable in every sense of the word.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as:


"Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities."

As Visit California launches a process to develop its statewide Tourism Sustainability Plan, this means re-imagining the future of the state’s visitor economy through a triple-bottom-line perspective: 

  • Social: How can California ensure that the state’s visitor economy offers cultural, recreational and quality-of-life benefits to all Californians?
  • Environmental: How can destination promoters ensure that travel to and within California occurs in ways that protect our environment, natural resources and assets?
  • Economic: How can tourism continue to be a thriving and enduring driver of California’s economy and that its positive impacts are felt statewide?

Guiding Principles

As Visit California develops a plan for tourism sustainability in the Golden State, seven principles have been identified that will guide our decision-making.

Sustainability strategies must:

  1. Enhance and enrich the visitor’s experience of California
  2. Contribute to a quality of life for Californians that cannot be sustained by local populations alone
  3. Respect the history and unique culture of every community
  4. Contribute to California’s economy in ways that are equitably distributed and support stable employment
  5. Influence the appropriate and effective dispersal of visitors across geographies and need periods
  6. Ensure that natural resources are used responsibly and cared for by locals and visitors alike
  7. Honor and preserve the natural beauty of California

Media: Share the story

Media partners play an integral role in the sustainability of travel markets by telling the stories of roads less traveled. Work directly with Visit California to ensure coverage of the state influences visitor perception in positive ways.

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Trade: Get involved

Travel sustainability is critical for trade partners by preserving the value of destinations being sold. Travel trade success depends on a balance of driving visitation and maintaining a destination’s sense of place.

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