Days ahead of flying to Dana Point for the Visit California Luxury Forum, a small team of us reconvened to decide whether we should, in fact, go ahead with our bespoke event.
On Wednesday March 4, 2020, California joined Washington State in declaring a state of emergency in relation to COVID-19, an expected precautionary step to accelerate preparedness. Meanwhile, the health risk to the general public in California remained low.
Two weeks ago, the global situation was very different to how it is today. It was a difficult decision to make at a time when our understanding of the outbreak was still somewhat unknown. But the guidance provided by WHO and the California Department of Public Health, alongside an especially rigorous recruitment process for international buyers, meant that we had a window of opportunity to allow the delegation to come together.
Looking back, we know it was absolutely the right decision to go ahead.
Looking back, we know it was absolutely the right decision to go ahead. While it was just a matter of time upon our return that travel was being limited between the US and Europe, we feel truly privileged that we were able to showcase the hidden jewel of Dana Point in the beautiful Golden State.
We couldn’t have chosen a better place to meet than in southern California’s original surf town, a destination that prides itself on its authenticity, sense of community and spirit. These three values were brought to life not only through the programme, but through the people that joined us.
What was particularly humbling was that so many of our delegates expressed their appreciation at being given this last chance to meet, particularly in a place that felt like a retreat and allowed us to take a breath. From a personal and business perspective, it was amazing.
Never have I felt such palpable, positive and collaborative energy – it resonated throughout our delegation and lifted our spirits.
I would like to thank all our international buyers, Californian suppliers and distinguished CEOs who came together, conscientiously, and despite the odds. Never have I felt such palpable, positive and collaborative energy – it resonated throughout our delegation and lifted our spirits.
This sense of community spread far beyond the forum itself. Combining forces with Visit California, we shared messages to our friends and colleagues in Italy, who have been heavily impacted by the outbreak. Now, more than ever, we must stay connected as we navigate these uncertain waters.
“Stand together united for our beloved travel industry”.
To echo the words of Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California, we must “stand together united for our beloved travel industry”. This sentiment remained with us throughout the event and we left California with a renewed sense of togetherness.
I know from the bottom of my heart that we will overcome the challenges we are faced together and with the help of each other. I look forward to a brighter future for our most resilient industry.
All the best,