Visit San Jacinto Valley Tourism Program Proving it’s Worth

In the beginning, back in the spring of 2013, there were plenty of critics.  “Why would anyone want to visit the San Jacinto Valley?” was asked many times by community members.

But those people asking didn’t understand tourism, didn’t understand all that the valley offers for people outside the area, and they didn’t understand the economic potential that a tourism program could bring to the valley.  A core group of roughly 30 people did understand though, and throughout that spring the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program was born.

Official launch of Visit San Jacinto Valley

Launch of Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program in July 2013

Fast-forward to today and valley residents can proudly say that the Visit San Jacinto Valley tourism program is an “award winning” program having recently won 2 economic development awards ~ one regional and one statewide. At a time when more businesses were closing than opening and the country was economically stagnant, it was unheard of for new tourism programs to develop, much less a tourism program that was a public/private partnership.  That idea, coupled with data from the State of California’s Travel Impact statistics that shows strong tourism growth in the Valley over the past several months, have brought plenty attention to the program.   Visitors only need to look at www.visitsanjacintovalley.com to see that a wide variety of tourism and recreational opportunities are found here. Couple that with the current national tourism trend of “rural tourism” and Visit San Jacinto Valley has a bright future ahead of it.

Visit San Jacinto Valley nears end of second year

June 2015 marks the official end of the second year of Visit San Jacinto Valley.  This year, for the second year, Visit San Jacinto Valley took part in a co-op Inland Empire ad placed in Visit California’s Visitor Guide.  The guide is the main tourism promotional piece for California and millions of people see the ad annually.  In addition, Visit San Jacinto Valley does receive names and emails of people wishing to find out more about the valley from that ad.  This year too, an online publication, 52 Perfect Days, contacted Visit San Jacinto Valley and asked if the group could provide 52 things to do in the San Jacinto Valley.  It worked out so well that soon these 52 things will be seen around the valley as a new brochure.

Speaking of brochures…..you’ll soon see racks around both cities and in outlying areas filled with San Jacinto Valley information.  The marketing committee for Visit San Jacinto Valley is establishing a valley-wide rack card program to make it easy for visitors to pick up information about all there is to see and do.

2015 Ramona Pageant

72% of Ramona Pageant attendees are from out of the area.

Last year we hosted Snowbird blogger Deb Thompson for 5 weeks in the valley.  Her blog posts and daily updates brought much needed national attention to the area.  She left before seeing Ramona so she just came back and got to experience Ramona first hand.  Needless to say, she’ll be helping get the word out about the pageant via her audience over the next several months.

Have you connect with Visit San Jacinto Valley via Facebook and Twitter?

Visit San Jacinto Valley has a very active presence on both Facebook and Twitter.  It’s worth noting that in addition to visitors interacting on the sites, there is a robust local component too.  Community engagement is key to a strong destination marketing effort and the valley is very engaged on these social media sites.

The past two years have laid a strong foundation for the Visit San Jacinto Valley program.  It has been funded by public and private funds, but those limited funds cannot sustain the effort in the long run.  So with that in mind a new membership program is being developed with various membership levels to keep the program sustainable year after year.  Successful tourism programs are generally independent entities and that is the end goal for the program.  There are very few businesses in the valley that are not touched in some way by tourism.  It is said nationally that a tourist dollar turns over at least 7 times in a community.  Visit San Jacinto Valley’s mission is to encourage tourism in the valley and as a result bring economic prosperity to all who live and work here.

Ramona Bowl presents 91st season of Ramona Pageant

Ramona PageantThe Ramona Bowl is presenting the 91st season of Helen Hunt Jackson’s story “Ramona,” April 12 & 13, April 26 & 27, and May 3 & 4 (www.RamonaBowl.com). Written to bring awareness of the plight of the Native American in southern California, the play has been presented in Hemet, CA. every spring since 1923.   Ramona brings thousands to the San Jacinto Valley each year from across the United States.

In 1993, Ramona was designated the official outdoor play for the State of California.

Native American and Spanish roots of the valley showcased

Set in a natural amphitheatre the pageant’s story includes cowboys racing their horses over the hills, a fiesta full of Spanish dancing and the Elder blessing of Ramona and Alessandro’s child that features a breathtaking hillside full of Rock Indians.  It tells the touching love story of Ramona and Alessandro and is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet.

This year the role of Ramona is played by Jehnean Washington who is herself Native American. She has played Ramona twice before and brings an extensive acting background to the character as well as a classical singing voice.

Newcomer Sean Rey plays Alessandro. He is an Equity actor from the Bay Area who has worked with both the Stella Adler group and the Steppenwolf theatre. He has a wide background in both stage and film acting.

Ramona Pageant dancers

For each performance the gates open at 1:30pm so that visitors may enjoy a preshow in the courtyard. There are also extensive food selections, including waitress service, a gift shop and a museum that features one of the only murals ever created by Milford Zorne.  The show begins at 3:30 and last until 6pm.  For more information please visit www.RamonaBowl.com.

Ramona At a Glance

April 12 & 13, April 26 & 27, and May 3 & 4 at 3:30PM

Gates open at 1:30PM

Ticket Prices – Lower level: $32 for all ages

Upper level: $32 for adults

$29 for seniors 62 and up

$19 for children 12 and under

Local residents: $20

Shaded Box Seats: $47 for all ages

Contact: (951)658-3111 ext. 100

ramona@ramonabowl.com

 

For more information:
San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce (951) 654-1645
Hemet/San Jacinto (951) 658-3211
Email: info@visitsanjacintovalley.com