California taps tourism to help economic recovery after wildfires
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Wednesday that the state will do all it can to encourage tourism to help in Southern California wildfire economic recovery.
The governor reminded tourists that Southern California remains a beautiful, exciting and safe place to visit.
Schwarzenegger made the remarks while touring popular tourist destinations still open for business after the recent wildfires.
"People heard about the fires and they just assumed most of Southern California had burned down. I'm here today to announce to the whole world: Southern California is still here and it remains open for business," said Schwarzenegger.
"We have the best weather, the best scenery and the best tourist destinations right here in California."
Travel spending in San Diego County totals 10.1 billion U.S. dollars, 3.4 billion dollars in San Bernardino County, 21 billion dollars in Los Angeles County and 7.9 billion dollars in Orange County, according to tourism agency Dean Runyan and Associates.
Schwarzenegger visited Lake Arrowhead near Los Angeles, where tourism plays a vital role in the area's economy. Tourism creates more than 1,000 jobs for local residents, according to the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce. Neighboring communities like Big Bear, Running Springs and Crestline also rely upon tourism, especially snow sports during the winter season.
Later in the day, the governor visited San Diego where attractions such as Sea World San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park and LEGOLAND remain open and unaffected by the recent fires.
As part of Southern California's economic recovery efforts through tourism, the California Travel and Tourism Commission this week launched a national TV and print advertising campaign.