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USA: San Diego spending $1millon to lure Chinese visitors

Thanks to a Tourism Authority partnership with Brand USA, China will see video advertising this year highlighting tourist attractions in San Diego.
They will be narrated in Mandarin. (Courtesy of San Diego Tourism Authority)
As the all-important spring and summer travel season approaches, San Diego is launching a $15 million advertising initiative, but this year there’s a relatively new player in the mix: China.
Just last week, a crew finished shooting videos with two Mandarin-speaking hosts highlighting attractions tourism officials hope will resonate with Chinese tourists: Balboa Park, the USS Midway, Mission Beach, Liberty Station and Chicano Park.
While San Diego is responsible for a fraction of the 1.4 million Chinese who visited California in 2017, the San Diego Tourism Authority believes it still can capitalize on a surging market that is already No. 1 in the state for overseas visitors.
It also doesn’t hurt that Hainan Airlines, China's largest private airline, recently announced that it will be flying nonstop between Beijing and Tijuana beginning in late March.
“We've identified China for the last several years to be the next international market,” said Joe Terzi, CEO of the Tourism Authority. “It also made sense, though, for us to do this (marketing) with this flight starting three days a week.
“We are getting Chinese visitation to San Diego but it's more day trips from L.A., and the intent is to give people flying to California a reason to come to San Diego and stay overnight and not just come down in a bus for two hours.”
In all, the Tourism Authority will spend $20 million on advertising throughout the year, about $3 million more than last year, Terzi said. Included is the China campaign, plus additional allocations for Balboa Park and marketing in Los Angeles.
The marketing initiative in China, via a variety of digital platforms like WeChat, Weibo and Baidu, is part of a $3 million advertising partnership with Brand USA, the tourism marketing organization for the U.S.
The partnership also will cover advertising campaigns in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.
“Through resources we have here in Washington, D.C., and more importantly, four offices in China, digital platforms we’ve built in China, and an overall deployment of marketing resources over the last five years, San Diego and other cities can take advantage of this at a price they couldn’t do on their own,” said Brand USA CEO Christopher Thompson.
Brand USA also has developed its own website in China promoting U.S. destination.
While San Diego is still at a disadvantage because there is no nonstop flight between Lindbergh Field and China, the upcoming flight that will link Beijing and Mexico City, with a stop at the Tijuana International Airport, could be a big help, Thompson added.
Out of nearly 35 million visitors to San Diego in 2016, the year for which there is recent data, 122,000 were from China, compared with 364,000 from Canada and 165,000 from the United Kingdom, according to the Tourism Authority.
“Travel from China is all about air access, so that airfield in Tijuana is a gateway to San Diego and will be a big deal,” Thompson said. “We’ve seen considerable increases in numbers for destinations that secured nonstop service from China so the timing of San Diego’s marketing resources through us will be very beneficial to maximizing that air service.”
  Source: San Diego Union Tribune

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