Held at CIA at Copia, Visit Napa Valley shared tourism insights, FY2024 plans, and featured a keynote message from Josiah Brown, destination marketing expert.

On September 28, 2023, Visit Napa Valley held its annual tourism and hospitality industry conference, Destination Symposium. Hosted at CIA at Copia, Destination Symposium is designed to bring together tourism, hospitality, and winery professionals throughout the Napa Valley to learn more about current trends in tourism and how their daily work and service directly impacts Napa Valley.

The event kicked off with a welcome address by Thomas Bensel, Managing Director of The Culinary Institute of America in California and Chair of the Visit Napa Valley Board of Directors, and was followed by a report from Visit Napa Valley President & CEO Linsey Gallagher. Titled, “The State of Napa Valley Tourism,” the content featured synthesized data from a variety of sources including Future Partners, U.S. Travel, Smith Travel Research, Visit California, and the San Francisco Travel Association, to identify trends in leisure as well as meeting and group tourism and to spotlight opportunities for the Napa Valley hospitality and tourism industries.

“The primary theme that came through in our report was that Napa Valley can expect a return to more normal visitation patterns,” said Gallagher. “The turbulence of the pandemic is behind us, and while we haven’t fully regained 2019 levels of overnight occupancy, we have recovered and exceeded 2019 levels of revenue. This means that, while we have fewer travelers in the destination, those who are visiting are spending more money in Napa Valley.”

Following a video highlight of the organization’s Fiscal Year 2023 (July 2022 - June 2023) metrics and results, Jennifer Dadesho, Director of Marketing for Visit Napa Valley, presented information about the organization’s recent process and completion of its Long-Range Plan. The Long-Range plan will serve as the foundation and 3-year road map guiding business activity and operations for Visit Napa Valley, again reaffirming the return to normalcy, even in planning processes, for the tourism and travel industry. Following Dadesho’s remarks, Amanda Moul, Vice President and Group Account Director at The Shipyard which is the media agency of record for Visit Napa Valley, shared with attendees a glimpse of the Fiscal Year 2024 paid media campaigns and strategy.

Gallagher returned to the podium to share insights on the demonstrated positive impacts of the visitor economy on the Napa Valley community, including record-levels of transient occupancy tax that was collected county-wide in fiscal year 2023.

“The total transient occupancy tax collected in Napa County during fiscal year 2023 hit a new high of $69 million, and exceeded 2019 revenue by $14 million,” added Gallagher. “That is visitor-paid money that directly contributes to the quality of life for Napa Valley residents.”

The keynote address, delivered by Josiah Brown, President & Chief Travel Officer of Famous Destination Marketing, inspired attendees to embrace sustainable and scalable growth in the tourism industry and empowered them to understand and advocate, on a macro-level, how their daily work impacts the overall quality of life for Napa Valley residents.

The informative session concluded with an awards ceremony to honor the Great Wine Capitals 2024 Best of Wine Tourism Regional winning businesses. Concluding the event, was a networking session held on the Copia Mezzanine, which featured light bites the CIA culinary team and beverages from Visit Napa Valley Partners, HALL Wines and Ohm Coffee Roasters, along with wineries who received recognition during the Great Wines Capital awards ceremony.

“Tourism is an incredibly important part of our local economy as well as resident quality of life here in Napa Valley, and we are grateful to organizations like Visit Napa Valley which creates opportunities to share these critical insights industry-wide,” added Bensel. “We’re honored to host yet another Destination Symposium and look forward to hosting for many years to come.”

Presentations and materials from Destination Symposium 2023 may be found here.