By Gina Keough
Visitor and Convention Bureau Director

The Tourism Marketing Series which we have held monthly this year, will be discontinued in 2016, as of January 1.  Attendance has been very small and we feel our goal of keeping our Visitor and Convention Bureau members (anyone who owns/operates a hotel, restaurant or attraction) in the know, will be better served by hosting just two events during the second half of this fiscal year: one in May to honor Tourism Month, and one in the fall. Dates will be announced in the near future.

A hearty thank you goes out to our program speakers and host properties, including:

July: Riverbench Winery and guest speaker Clarissa Nagy
Aug: Historic Santa Maria Inn and Liane Aanderaa, Allan Hancock College
Sept: Waller Park (I was the guest speaker)
Oct: Moxie Café and guest speaker Cara Martinez, Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce
Nov:  Far Western Tavern and guest speaker Brian Tucker, Visit California
Dec: Ca Del Grevino Bistro & Wine Bar and guest speaker Arun Shivaprasad, Tektegrity

As we prepare for the holidays, I’d like to encourage everyone to #ShopSantaMaria and keep your dollars in our own community.  Let’s strive to support our local merchants and service providers who not only operate their businesses here (which has a ripple effect into other businesses), but also hire members of our local community and thus create jobs here in the Santa Maria Valley.

Gifts need not be actual items either – the gift of our time spent with loved ones is a priceless gift and can mean much more than any store bought gift. Chamber members such as Wine & Design Orcutt, The Climbing Pad, PCPA Conservatory Theatre, The Santa Maria Civic Theatre, The Great American Melodrama, Rancho Bowl, our local wineries, breweries and restaurants, all offer you an experience to treasure and memories to create. Get creative with your time this year and offer your loved ones the gift of your presence.  Need ideas? Please stop in to our office or give us a call and we are more than happy to offer suggestions.  We also stock brochures and visitor guides for our local area, the state of California and Yosemite.  We’re open Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. 614 S. Broadway, Santa Maria or contact us at (805) 925-2403.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday, Merry Christmas! May you be abundantly blessed in the New Year!