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Business trip to LA was worth the time; will pay rewards

Feather Publishing
3/7/2014
 

Thanks to the effort and financial contributions of a local business and the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce, the entire county stands to benefit.

Earlier this month, the chamber joined forces with Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch to take the Plumas County tourism show on the road.

During their two-day stint at the Travel and Adventure Show in Los Angeles, Greenhorn’s Trish Wilburn and the Eastern Plumas chamber’s Audrey Ellis set up a display booth in front of 32,000 potential vacationers. The Plumas ambassadors gave away every brochure and visitors guide that made the trip in the familiar Greenhorn Ranch SUV. Wilburn and Ellis came home with hundreds of contacts and about 11,000 email addresses.

The future business to our county generated by this trip will be worth the expense. Trish and husband Ralph Wilburn, who regularly lend financial support to local causes, paid half the $4,000 fee for the booth. The self-funded Eastern Plumas chamber paid the other half. And they didn’t just promote Greenhorn and the chamber’s members. They answered questions about Plumas County and pointed potential visitors toward the areas, recreation and services they were looking for.

For a county that relies as much on tourism as this one, having a presence at events like the Los Angeles travel show is extremely important. The Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau has represented the county at similar shows.

People who attend those shows already know they are going to travel; they just haven’t decided where. To a Southern Californian, our little corner of the state must look like Heaven.

“It was absolutely awesome,” Ellis said in a Feather Publishing story about the trip that was published last week. “I never expected to see so much interest in Plumas County. People didn’t know where we were and now they do.”

Ellis said it was money well spent.

Since the county visitor’s bureau was shuttered in 2011 because of budget cuts, individual businesses have been forced to take on most of the county’s tourism advertising and marketing themselves. And they have stepped up to the challenge. The trip to Los Angeles is the latest example, but many local businesses have been contributing to the marketing effort.

The privately funded Tourism, Recreation and Hospitality Council is an example of the local teamwork. The council, relying on donations, has been able to keep the plumascounty.org website alive. And there are other websites as well, including the county-sponsored exploreplumascounty.com.

The county used to spend several hundred thousand dollars a year promoting tourism through the visitors bureau. Today the county’s tourism website is all that remains.

Hopefully, as the local economy improves and the county has more money to spend, the supervisors will renew the county’s commitment to promoting our vital tourism industry.

But until that time comes, the local tourism businesses — led by people like the Wilburns and Ellis — should be commended for their efforts to attract visitors and dollars to Plumas County.


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