ON THE WATERFRONT: Seizing on San Diego’s assets, tourism luring power
by Johnny McDonald
Apr 11, 2012 | 1373 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The beaches and Mission Bay are scenic playgrounds that are vastly important in selling the values of San Diego as an attractive vacation city.

Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (ConVis), stressed this in a recent conversation.

“Despite the rising cost of gasoline, San Diego still offers the best location for easy and less-expensive travel,” he said. 

He said the lure of the beaches is important to visitors from Arizona, Nevada, Utah and other sections of California.

A survey of prospective vacationers was taken in Seattle about people’s choice for travel — and San Diego was listed No 2, ranking only behind Hawaii.   

“Now that’s not bad, being second to what most people regard as the dream vacation to the islands,” Terzi said. “We’re easier to get to and it’s cheaper. I’d say San Diego has the best weather in the world. I haven’t found a place that has better weather 365 days of the year.”

In 2008, when the country in general faced a recession and rising gas prices, San Diego’s attractions didn’t take a major hit.  

“We didn’t see a problem for those who came to visit for a few days,” he said. “The additional … gas cost didn’t seem to matter.”  

Terzi added, though, that an increase in airline travel costs remains a concern.

Krissi Kapich, vice president of marketing at ConVis, said the bureau is running a major partnership with SeaWorld San Diego by “sharing media expenses. The campaigns include Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.”  

“We do special promotions, mostly through the online travel agencies, that offer special values or price discounts,” Kapich said. “These promotions often target travelers who are researching popular flying destinations such as Hawaii and other key competitors.” 

ConVis spends $6.2 million from February through June promoting the entire county.          

“The beauty and diversity of the area are chief reasons why people come to San Diego,” said Kapich.     

***

Classic observations — We now understand what director Martha Schumacker meant when she said it may be more difficult to gain entry into the Crew Classic next year. The annual rowing competition had 106 races involving 4,000 athletes over two days. That’s hardly enough daylight to get them all in.

And the feature attractions — the women’s Whittier Cup and the men’s Copley Cup — were foreign affairs to some degree.

The victorious Harvard men had two Englishmen, a pair of New Zealanders, an Australian and a Scot among the eight oarsmen and coxswain. USC’s triumphant ladies filled the boat with three ladies from Poland, two from Sweden and one each from Latvia and Serbia. That left two from our side of the big pond. 

And there are even more on the big roster. That’s really serious overseas recruiting. 

Crimson coach Harry Parker, considered a living legend of the sport, watched his men rally to beat a strong UC Berkeley team. 

Although it is much too early, it would appear Harvard has a great chance to win the nationals this year. It finished second to the University of Washington last year.

During his 40 years as head coach, his teams have garnered six national titles, 15 undefeated seasons, 17 Eastern Sprints Championships and a 31-6 record against Yale.

The sometimes-overlooked but as-important Grand Valley State University held off Notre Dame to win the men’s Cal Cup and Duke, making its first appearance since 2002, when it beat Oregon State in the women’s Cal Cup.

— Johnny McDonald is a longtime writer and columnist for the San Diego Community Newspaper Group. He can be reached at Johnny23@cox.net.
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