Dear Industry Leaders,
As you are well aware, wildfires have recently exploded across the state.
Many of us have family, friends or colleagues who have suffered losses.
Against this somber backdrop, I am writing to update you on Visit
California’s crisis communications efforts. As with any crisis response,
our immediate thoughts are always with the first responders who bravely
rush into danger to protect life and property. We are incredibly grateful
for their work.
As of this morning, 22 fires are active. Twenty-one people have died and
at least 2,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed. Governor Brown has
declared a state of emergency, and President Trump has approved a federal
disaster declaration. Napa and Sonoma counties are two of the hardest hit,
while a fire in Anaheim is drawing national attention for its proximity to
Visit California has activated its Crisis Communications Plan, and we are
working closely with partners in affected destinations around the state to
communicate accurate and up-to-date information to potential visitors
around the world. Our network of international offices is analyzing media
coverage to inform ongoing response efforts. All 13 international offices
are working with travel trade partners in each market, providing the
latest information on areas impacted by the fires. We remain in close contact
with the Governor’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services, among others.
Many of you have asked how you can help. We’ve compiled a partial list of
organizations that are working to help the affected communities recover.
The Office of Emergency Services has recommended only financial donations
at this stage of the crisis, since there are limited locations to
warehouse supplies or other items. If you would like to donate items, OES recommends
making donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army or a similar organization
that can stockpile goods. Some organizations are also looking for volunteer
On the tourism front, we’ve already asked our agencies to begin work on a
recovery initiative, and we will of course be discussing the disaster at
our upcoming Fall Board Meeting on Oct. 25 in Catalina. In the meantime,
if I or anyone on the Visit California team can help in any way, please do
not hesitate to contact me directly. We stand ready to amplify any of your
efforts. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the fires.
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1100 • Sacramento, CA 95814