Brand USA has a new, fresh face charged with increasing tourism down south
Interesting that there's a new sheriff in town for Brand USA, the group trying to boost tourism down south.
It was revealed this week that Jim Evans, the former chief executive for Brand USA, is stepping down. Taking his place will be the top tourism official for California, which has been putting out some pretty good ads (I like the one with Rob Lowe and Betty White) and seemingly knows a thing or two about travel and tourists.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Caroline Beteta, president and chief executive of Visit California, the nonprofit group dedicated to marketing the Golden State, was named interim chief executive of Brand USA, which is in charge of a $150-million media campaign. The times said Betea will continue in her Visit California job.
I've written extensively in this space and in the Star about Brand USA, an international campaign launched in L.A. last month that features singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash and a catchy anthem called "Land of Dreams."
The U.S. Travel Assn. initiated the campaign with the support of several large tourism groups and travel businesses. The campaign will be financed by a $14 fee charged to each international visitor who registers for a visa to enter the U.S., plus donations from private businesses such as hotels and theme parks.
Until recently, the U.S. (to the amazement of many in the industry) had no overall group to try to bring tourists to American soil. Instead, it was left to states or cities to make the effort.
"Brand USA began as just an idea a little more than a year ago, and I have been fully committed to its long-term viability and success, and remain committed to those goals today," Beteta said in a statement.
Prior to her current position with Visit California, Beteta served as vice president of a Washington, D.C., public affairs firm.
While Visit California launched innumerable award-winning campaigns during her tenure, it is probably best known for its television broadcast advertising, which features many of the Golden State's A-list celebrities such as Betty White, the Jonas Brothers, Kim Kardashian, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former first lady Maria Shriver, Rob Lowe, Jay Leno, David Beckham, Wolfgang Puck, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Gordon and Jack Nicholson, among others.
WEST JET REWARDS IMPROVEMENTS
WestJet today announced a new agreement with American Airlines that will allow WestJet Rewards members to earn WestJet dollars on flights marketed and operated by American Airlines and its affiliates, American Eagle and AmericanConnection. The agreement provides WestJet Rewards members with the ability to accumulate WestJet dollars faster, especially those guests flying within American's extensive worldwide network of destinations.
WestJet Rewards members earn WestJet dollars on flights and vacation packages with WestJet and WestJet Vacations. WestJet dollars can then be used like cash and can be used on any date, to any of WestJet's 76 destinations, with no blackout periods, and can even be applied to seat-sale fares. Members also have the flexibility to use their WestJet dollars to either pay in full, or partially pay for their bookings online or through our WestJet Sales Super Centre. Full details of the program can be found at westjet.com/rewards.
Starting today, WestJet Rewards members will also earn WestJet dollars on any flight in American Airline's global network, including North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Pacific. Members can book flights directly with American Airlines or through their preferred travel agent and earn WestJet dollars when they add their WestJet Rewards identification number to the booking.
"This frequent flyer partnership, a first for WestJet, represents the continued evolution of WestJet Rewards," said Marshall Wilmot, WestJet Vice-President, Product and Distribution. "We're pleased to offer a rewards program that's easy, transparent and meets the needs of our guests. We're confident our members will enjoy earning WestJet dollars even faster as they fly with WestJet and on American and throughout its extensive worldwide network."
"Our expanded cooperation with WestJet offers even more opportunities for our AAdvantage members to earn miles on flights to more destinations," said Suzanne Rubin, President, AAdvantage Loyalty Program. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with WestJet and ensuring that our frequent fliers have valuable mileage earning - and eventually redemption - options wherever their travels take them."
The two airlines will continue to expand the relationship further, including the ability for WestJet Rewards members to redeem WestJet dollars on American Airlines flights. A date for redemption for American Airlines flights has not been determined.