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California Tourism Recovering from Wildfires

November 5, 2003

California Tourism Recovering from Wildfires
November 5, 2003 – With all Southern California wildfires nearing 100 percent containment, the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) is working to aid those displaced by this disaster, while encouraging tourists to continue to visit the state’s destinations and attractions.

"Speaking on behalf of the tens of thousands of people who work in California’s hospitality industry, our hearts are with the victims of these devastating fires," said Caroline Beteta, executive director of the CTTC. "The travel industry will continue to do all it can to help them recover from this disaster. We’re also here to help our national and international visitors’ peace of mind by letting them know more than 99 percent of California remains untouched by the wildfires in our Southland."

More than 1500 complimentary room-nights have been set aside for firefighters and victims of the San Diego region’s wildfires, according to the San Diego Concierge, a business that helps tourists find hotel rooms in San Diego and is now working with the American Red Cross to find rooms for those affected by the wildfires. Hotels also are offering deep discounts for displaced residents who need to stay longer.

"We are inspired by the way the hospitality community has pulled together to provide shelter to families affected by the fires and our firefighters battling to save lives and protect property," said Reint Reinders, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Our next step is to remind tourists that Southern California continues to be a great place to visit."

All attractions and tourist destinations in the San Diego, greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas – as well as those located in the great majority of the state unaffected by the fires – remain open for business. Airports and freeways in Southern California are once again running at normal capacity.

"We are encouraging both leisure and business travelers not to cancel or reschedule their plans to visit Southern California," said Beteta. "We invite people from across the nation and around the world to visit California in the weeks ahead to enjoy all we have to offer. Your visit will help us rebuild and recover from this terrible disaster."

Due to their location in residential and rural areas, the wildfires never threatened major theme parks in San Diego, Orange County or the greater Los Angeles area. And thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters from the western United States, less than one percent of California’s total land mass was lost to this disaster. For more specific regional information, please contact the destination marketing organizations at the numbers below:

  • Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, general info (714) 765-8888, media contact: Elaine Cali, (714) 765-8853,
  • Big Bear Lake Resort Association, general info (800) 4-BIG BEAR (4-244-2327), media contact: Laura Kraus, (909) 866-6190 ext. 235,
  • Inland Empire Tourism Council, general info (909) 779-6700, media contact: Sherri Davis, (909) 779-6700,
  • LA, Inc. The Convention & Visitors Bureau, general info (213) 689-8822, media contact: Carol Martinez, (213) 236-2357,
  • San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau, general info (760) 745-4741, media contact: Elizabeth Ranta, (760) 745-4741, ext. 12,
  • San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, general info (619) 236-1212, media contact: Joe Timko, (619) 557-2812,
  • Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau, general info (805) 648-2075, media contact: Malei J. Weir, (805) 344-6620,
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