Visit The OC + California’s Top Tourism CEOs Travel to Welcome Middle East Visitors in 2019

McCue Marketing Communications
Sienna Spencer-Markles |
Leonard McIntosh |

Visit California Declares U.A.E and Gulf Country States Important Markets to be Targeted with Increased and Renewed Focus for 2019 and Beyond

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.  (June 19, 2019) — Led by Visit California, the Golden State’s major players in the tourism industry has declared the U.A.E and Gulf Country States markets to be targeted with increased and renewed focus supported by expanded marketing investment and ongoing engagement in 2019 and beyond.  

In order to forge new business relationships and build on existing relationships, top California tourism representatives visited Dubai this past spring to further affirm the fact that all Middle East visitors are always welcome in California. Among the prominent CEOs representing 9 California regions were Orange County Visitors Association President and CEO Ed Fuller and Gary Sherwin, President & CEO of Visit Newport Beach.

The delegation, headed by Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California included Ed Fuller, President and CEO, Orange County Visitors Association; Gary Sherwin, President & CEO, Newport Beach & Co; James Bermingham, Executive Vice President, Operations Montage International & Visit California Board Chair; Julie Wagner, CEO, Beverly Hills Convention & Visitors Bureau; Ernie Wooden, President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board; Misti Kerns, CEO, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism; Tom Kiely, President and CEO, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board; and Kathy Janega-Dykes, President & CEO, Visit Santa Barbara. 

It is the first time for such a high-level delegation from California’s tourism industry to visit the U.A.E. as part of the mission that will spearhead a multitude of market engagements, including the implementation of airline and travel industry partnerships, consumer campaigns, travel industry educational programs, as well as media, digital and social media engagements promoting California’s luxury, culinary and outdoor adventure experiences.

Visit California anticipates 264,000 Middle Eastern travelers to visit the Golden State in 2019, marking a pronounced rebound in travel from the region after declines following the federal administration transition in 2017. By 2022, growth in travel from the Middle East is projected to approach 300,000 visitors, outpacing several of the state’s current top target markets.

About Orange County Visitors Association

The Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) represents more than 700 members of Orange County, California’s tourism community and is the leading resource for visitor information about the county’s 34 cities. OCVA serves as steward of The OC brand, recognized worldwide as the home of world-famous theme parks, unparalleled shopping, 42 miles of pristine coastline, renowned beachfront resorts, and innumerable activities ranging from watersports to world-class performing arts. OCVA promotes the destination both domestically and internationally, with tourism offices in seven international cities. Orange County is located in the heart of Southern California and provides easy access to all the attractions the region offers. For more information, go to or call the California Welcome Center at (714) 523-3441. Follow OCVA on Facebook (VisitTheOC) and Twitter (@VisitTheOC).