New leadership setting fast pace at tourism bureau | August 9, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - August 9, 2013

New leadership setting fast pace at tourism bureau

Under new leadership, Visit Tri-Valley California, as the better known Tri-Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau is now called, is embarking on a major program to encourage thousands to make day trips or spend a weekend here. In her meeting with a Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce delegation Tuesday and at the organization's annual luncheon last week, Visit Tri-Valley's president Barbara Steinfeld promised an ambitious campaign in the coming months to entice more from the Bay Area and beyond to come to the Tri-Valley for a weekend of fun, entertainment, wine tasting, hiking, shopping and even to get married.

She considers this an untapped tourism destination that is beautiful and authentic, with unmatched hills and lush terrain, unbeatable weather, walkable downtowns and super, value-filled boutiques. Especially in these times of increasingly costly air fares and travel uncertainties, a day or two spent in the Tri-Valley offers advantages for the budget-savvy who just want to take a breather from their business and family routines.

Steinfeld is a welcome addition to Visit Tri-Valley, an organization with a professional, motivated staff in sales, marketing, wedding planning and more that has lacked effective leadership for quite some time. The old CVB has gone through some turbulent times in recent years, and at least one city and a major hotel have questioned the effectiveness of the organization and the need to charge hotel guests $2 a night to support it.

Thanks to a strong executive committee now in place, headed by Dave Ackerman of the thriving and Simon Corp.-owned Livermore Premium Outlets, the future looks brighter not only for the revived, re-focused and renamed Visit Tri-Valley organization but, more important, for the five cities and their businesses that stand to profit as more visitors come here.

Steinfeld was hired to head the Tri-Valley organization April 8 after spending the last 16 years with Travel Portland, where she served as the vice president for Tourism Sales. A tourism industry veteran, she also has worked at the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, where she spent four years as a Tourism and Economic Development Consultant. In addition, Steinfeld is chair of the U.S. Travel Association's Destination Council and is the past chair of the Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance, of which she is a co-founder.

Steinfeld's goal in serving Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville is to promote the entire region for visitors. The immediate effort will be to increase the number of overnight stays, primarily for long weekends from Thursday through Sundays. There are 36 hotels in the region that pay the $2 per room assessment, and Steinfeld is pushing her staff to help fill them up between the time business travelers check out on Thursdays and check in again Monday afternoons.

Visit Tri-Valley's list of teasers in promoting the area include wine tasting at one of the Livermore Valley's 53 wineries, admiring the world's longest burning light bulb in Livermore, a visit to the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville, hiking in Mt. Diablo State Park, kayaking and picnicking at Shadow Cliffs lake in Pleasanton, taking in a performance at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore or the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton, "updating your wardrobe" at the Stoneridge Shopping Center or the Livermore Premium Outlets, testing skills with a game of bocce at Campo di Bocce in Livermore and chilling out at Dublin's Iceland Skating Rink. Of course, the Alameda County Fairgrounds are also on the list when special events are in town.

Besides increasing economic impact in our region with more overnight visitors, Steinfeld and her team are also promoting the weekday assets of the five cities by touting group, corporate and organization meeting opportunities. Special values at some hotels are encouraging business travelers to stay an extra day and bring their families to enjoy a quick vacation in five-star accommodations and at room rates and restaurant tabs far under what visitors would pay in San Francisco or on the Peninsula. Her success bodes well for all of us who live here and can enjoy the region's many benefits all the time.


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