The international travel market is taking note of what Sacramento has to offer….even if they might not yet know exactly where we are. On a recent sales trip to Germany, I spent a lot of time pointing to a small star in the center of a map of California and saying something like, “This is where the magic happens.”
Most of the travel professionals I visited with had never been to Sacramento. Some hadn’t even been to California. A few had been to San Francisco, Yosemite or Lake Tahoe and had somehow missed us. That’s what I’m out there trying to change.
However, even if they couldn’t quite find Sacramento on the map, many of them did have an idea of what we’re all about. They knew Sacramento was the capital of California and Arnold Schwarzenegger once lived here. They knew about the Gold Rush and our “Wild West” town. I wasn’t too surprised by that. I was however pleasantly surprised when one guest said “I’ve been told the food is great in Sacramento.” How great is it that someone halfway across the world knows that Sacramento is America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital? I received numerous comments about food and farms and beer and about how Sacramento seems like a “cool, laid-back California city.” It was pretty much the best thing ever.
In my nearly 10 years at the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, the perception of Sacramento has certainly changed. Back in the day, most people had no perception of what Sacramento was all about. Some had no idea what to do here. Clearly, though, word is getting out and - as much as I’d like to take credit for that - the city’s international momentum is nothing but a reflection of all the good folks doing good things in Sacramento. International visitors are looking for authentic travel experiences, and what could be a more authentic Sacramento experience than having a few beers and some good food with the locals?
We partner with Visit California and other destinations in the state to help spread the word about Sacramento internationally. And the ability to actually travel overseas to meet with travel professionals face to face goes a long way to bringing Sacramento to the top of a potential visitor’s mind. Sacramento’s reputation is growing and – even though the growth may not be lightning fast – travelers are taking notice.
Now, if they could just figure out where we are on that map….