The representatives of seven French businesses flew into San Francisco on Sunday to take their own tour and familiarize themselves with Northern California’s attractions, said Jeff Parmer, executive director of the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce.
Local tourism representatives met the travelers at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park on Wednesday and took them to Battery Point Lighthouse, Pebble Beach Drive and Ocean World, Parmer said. Stout Grove was another possibility, he said, along with a wine and cheese social at the home of county Supervisor Roger Gitlin.
The visitors were scheduled to eat dinner at the Chart Room restaurant before spending the night at the Ocean View Inn and Suites.
“They’re here to check out our attractions, motels and restaurants,” said Parmer, adding that the businesses book motor coach tours as well as itineraries for tourists to fly into the area and rent a car. “If they like what they see, they would set it up and start making reservations with different motels along the way.”
The travelers first wended their way via motor coach from San Francisco through Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Following their Klamath River jet boat tour, they will head to the Shasta-Cascade region via State Route 299 before finishing their trip in Sacramento.
The group’s visit was booked through the North Coast Tourism Council, a marketing consortium that includes Del Norte County, Parmer said. Its representatives go to travel shows in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Parmer said that he will be going to another travel show called the Pow Wow in Las Vegas next month, where he hopes to attract more national and international tour operators to the area.
“It’s like speed dating,” he said. “We have 15 minutes to give them our elevator speech of the area and convince them that it would be a great place for them to book tours. There are thousands of these operators from across the country and international.”
In preparation for the French tour operators’ visit, Parmer developed two itineraries based on the travelers the representatives target. Although it’s rare for a motor coach to stop in Crescent City, they do pass through town, he said.
“Some of the things we’re trying to work on with the Visitors Bureau is letting these people know we’re here and we do have places they can stay that are rated highly on Trip Advisor,” Parmer said.
Other Northern California attractions the group visited includes Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County. The Yurok Tribe, which owns the Klamath River Jet Boat Tours, will host the group today.