By Caroline Beteta
President and CEO, California Travel and Tourism Commission
In California, we are very serious about our fun. As the number one tourism destination in the United States, we should be. Hospitality and tourism support nearly 900,000 jobs in California, pump $87 billion plus into the economy and yield $5.3 billion in revenues for state and local government.
It should not be a surprise to anyone that our state is such a draw, with hundreds of miles of beaches, spectacular national parks, the most recognizable center for movie making in the world, cultural powerhouses and iconic cities. Yet California has another secret weapon – world-class public universities.
California’s hospitality management industry, like almost every other leading field, requires an educated workforce that is ready to take us into the future. The California State University prepares 64 percent of the hospitality and tourism bachelor’s-level graduates in this state. Without this constant supply of people with strong skills, our industry would not be able to maintain its international stature.
As a graduate of a California public university, I know the value of an affordable, accessible higher education system. That is why I am thrilled to help lead the California State University Hospitality Industry Advisory Board (click here for a list of board members). Industry leaders and the university, as partners, are in a position to provide students with the opportunities they need to make the most of their degree programs. We will continue to provide advising, encouragement, internships and applied learning.
Ultimately, I hope that more CSU students will recognize the great opportunities that the hospitality management profession provides. Our business is fun. Seriously.