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 Los Angeles, San Diego  San Francisco Join Forces to Create the California Cultural Tourism Coalition
 New Program Will Promote California's Major Urban Centers

LOS ANGELES, SAN DIEGO and SAN FRANCISCO, March 12, 1998 -  In an unprecedented public-private partnership, California's three major urban destinations have teamed up to develop a tourism initiative utilizing the state's rich cultural resources. The "California Cultural Tourism Coalition" is a partnership between the arts communities and the travel industries of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Beginning in March 1998, the Coalition will launch a multi-million dollar marketing campaign designed to increase cultural tourism to California.

To promote the program and encourage visitors to explore the regions' cultural offerings, the Coalition has
published "California: Culture's Edge," a collection of 13 themed itineraries that take travelers on exotic urban and
rural adventures through theatres, museums, galleries, ethnic communities, festivals, historic sites, architecture,
restaurants and shops.

Each itinerary targets a separate theme: 
African American Heritage
California Tour de Force (cultural highlights)
California on the Edge (avant garde culture)
California's Gold Rush to Statehood
California's Mission Trail
California Pride (gay and lesbian culture)
California Jewish Heritage
California Jazz and Blues
California Fiesta (Latino culture)
California Field Tripping (science and natural history)
California Performs (theatre and dance)
California East Is West (Asian culture)
California Art to Architecture

"When it comes to culture, let the world know -- California is ready and open for business!" says Robert Barrett,
associate vice president of cultural tourism for the Los Angeles Convention Visitors Bureau. "With more
museums, theatres, ethnic neighborhoods and artists than most nations, California is a world of riches waiting to
be explored."

The itineraries will help travelers connect to the rich and diverse array of cultural attractions and events in
California's premiere urban centers. Says Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts
Commission, "Travelers will find the itineraries an invaluable resource for planning their own individual
adventures on Culture's Edge."

According to Victoria L. Hamilton, Executive Director of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, "The overarching goal of the initiative is to enhance the world's perception of California as an international cultural destination and to form an image that intrigues and captures the imagination of the visitor. Arts and culture are vibrant expressions of our country and many of California's offerings are unique in the world."

Kary Schulman, Director of Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund stated, "Since forming the
first Convention Bureau department of arts tourism almost ten years ago, San Francisco has sought opportunities to share the glories of our many cultures.

In each of these itineraries visitors will explore our richly-textured city scapes in entirely new ways, guided by the
authentic voices of our uniquely California artists." "California: Culture's Edge" is now available to the public and can be ordered by writing the Los Angeles Convention Visitor's Bureau (633 West Fifth St., Suite 6000, Los Angeles, CA 90071, Attn: Cultural Tourism Dept.) or by visiting ( to download the itineraries. The publication is free, however, there is a $4.95 charge for shipping and handling (use your American Express card or send a check payable to "EM Group"). Filled with brilliant and alluring imagery of the Golden State, "California: Culture's Edge," features cultural attractions and events that exist only in California:

In all three regions, cultural leaders representing the communities that correspond with each itinerary theme
formed committees to create the content of "California: Culture's Edge."

Participants were asked to identify the places in their home regions they themselves would take visiting friends or
family. The resulting itineraries reflect the best their communities have to offer. Committee members included an
eclectic mix of more than 600 art and community leaders, museum directors, gallery owners, theatre producers,
religious leaders and artists.

"We were fortunate to get such a diverse, knowledgeable and motivated group of people to contribute," said
Barrett. "They offered insights and suggestions that no travel writer could duplicate. From nightspots to
alternative exhibition spaces, great museums to store-front performance venues, this program reveals the heart
and soul of cultural California!"

Rich Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Art Commission stated, "It was wonderful to
watch people from every part of the cultural community come together and pool ideas for the different themes. It
was a process of discovery for everybody involved, and the result is a series of itineraries with something for
everyone, including hidden gems for our own residents."

Funding for the program includes a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Other funding sources
include the Los Angeles Convention Visitors Bureau, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the City of San
Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the San Francisco Art Commission, Grants for the Arts of the San
Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Hyatt Hotels Corp. and American Express.

"At a time when arts organizations are facing new challenges to find innovative revenue streams, this project will
help grow earned income for the arts in our regions," said Zucker.

WEBSITE ( Designed by Spike Wireless

Spike Wireless, Australia's leading on-line content development company has been selected by the California
Cultural Tourism Coalition to create ( The site contains a full presentation of the
itineraries in "California: Culture's Edge," plus links to web sites of destinations found in the publication, as well
as other related web sites. The site has been up since March 1, 1998.

"We plan to make ( a one-stop shop for people who want to travel to California," said
C. Chris O'Hanlon, Spike Wireless CEO.

( is the world's first cultural tourism web site and will be the largest travel site focusing
exclusively on California cultural attractions. Future plans for the site include on-line tour booking, customized
itineraries, monthly cultural features, real time audio/visual clips and virtual tours.


Robert Barrett
Associate Vice President, Cultural Tourism Los Angeles Convention Visitors Bureau
213-236-2328, Fax: 213-236-2395
Laura Zucker
Executive Director of Los Angeles County Arts Commission
213-974-1343, or Fax: 213-625-1765

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