Tourism boards from California to Maryland are running direct and digital campaigns to attract consumers to their beaches, lakes and attractions for summer vacations, despite slashed state budgets.

Last week, the California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC) kicked off an online marketing contest with Southwest Airlines called “California – The Game.” Despite the recent recession, the CTTC is predicting travel will increase 3% in the state this year, and even more next year. The group is targeting prospective travelers with the game.

“We are trying to tap into the pent-up consumer demand to come to California,” said Kathryn Burnside, director of communications for the commission. “This is a peak time of year to get in front of people and inspire summer travel.”

The tourism group is using e-mail, search, display, social media and in-airport ads encouraging consumers to go to, where they can answer trivia questions about the Golden State. The game, which was created by ad agency Mering Carson, includes a virtual trip through the state.

Read full article at:  Travel campaigns on despite cuts – DMNews.

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