Sacramento campaigns to lure Spanish-speaking tourists from Mexico

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As the number of Latinos in Sacramento, California, continues to rise, an organization is hoping to target the demographic with the launch of a Spanish-language marketing campaign.

Sacramento’s tourism office is making a play to draw more Spanish-speaking visitors to the capital.

The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as Visit Sacramento, recently added a Spanish-language section to its website. The section, titled “Bienvenidos a Sacramento,” seeks to promote the city and be inclusive to the state’s growing multilingual population. Spanish is spoken at home by about 14% of the population in Sacramento County.

The launch intentionally coincided with Hispanic Heritage month, said Sonya Bradley, chief of diversity, equity and inclusion for Visit Sacramento.

“We are a visitor organization, and we want visitors from all over … and people are certainly more comfortable if something is in your native language,” said Bradley.

Currently, all the links from the landing page direct to online resources, including family activities, restaurants and events, in English. Bradley acknowledged that more work is still needed, but efforts signify the organization’s first attempt to accommodate Spanish speakers. As of Sacramento County’s latest data, Latinos are nearly 25% of the population.

“It’s just the first step, but the idea was to show that these things are available for folks,” Bradley said. “And that as time goes on, we will certainly have more content.”

More Spanish outreach from Visit Sacramento

Cynthia Moreno, a bilingual communications strategist for SociosPR, called translation the first step of creating Spanish-language content for Visit Sacramento.

Moreno, who was put in charge of creating the website, said the public relations agency has plans for ongoing projects in Spanish. She hopes to highlight businesses and signature events in the region that appeal directly to Latinos. Moreno said the agency is also considering a series of podcasts in Spanish to feature Sacramentans, who “make up the fabric” of the city.

“This website is just the beginning and doing it in Spanish and making it welcoming to those who are coming from other parts of the world,” Moreno said. “It just made sense.”

Tourism from Mexico

Roughly 83% of Hispanics living in the Sacramento region identify as Mexican, according to a 2021 report by the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

That makes Mexico an “important market” for tourism, said Mark Davis, interim manager of air service development at the Sacramento Airport.

At the moment, the planes leaving Sacramento fly into three Mexican cities: Cabo San Lucas, León and Guadalajara. While Cabo San Lucas flights tend to fall under the leisure market and are made up of U.S. citizens, León and Guadalajara flights typically consist of Mexican citizens and expats.

The airport postponed flights into Mexico City as of this month, with a return date not yet determined. Davis said the stoppage stems from “many flights” competing to get into the city. He added that the airport hopes to eventually have daily flights to Mexico City along with adding Puerto Vallarta to its destinations.

“We are in discussions with at least three Mexican carriers all the time about adding additional service,” Bradley said.

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