Travel Paso works to put the City on the journalistic map

 PASO ROBLES — Travel Paso’s diligent work is showing fruition — Executive Director Danna Stroud recently reported on national recognition praising the City as a travel destination. At the Jan. 21 Council Meeting, Stroud presented a strong case for the money spent on Paso Travel. 

“If we take a moment to reflect on some of the other accolades that we have received towards the end of the year, you’ll start to see that Paso Robles as a community and as a destination was receiving some significant media and interest throughout the year,” Stroud said. 

Stroud informed the Council of the East Coast interest in the City. The New York Times feature, “52 Places to Go,” named Paso Robles at the top of the list in sixth place, beating out places like Sicily and Tokyo. 

“It’s quite a stunning feature to have your hometown be featured in the New York Times in such a prestigious list as 52 places,” Stroud said. “One of the points that we learned about through this designation is that they were looking for places that were feeling fresh and compelling places to visit.” 

PRTID works to bring money to the City by presenting Paso as a tourist destination. One strategy employed it to host journalists to come and experience the area and then write about it. Held bi-annually, these Familiarization Tours (FAMs) target specific marketable areas. Stroud said that a National Geographic article in December calling Paso Robles “California’s next great wine destination” was a direct result of a 2018 FAM hosted by Paso Travel. 

Public relations firm Solterra Strategies coordinates FAMs on behalf of Travel Paso to establish and build relationships with freelance journalists. 

“It’s all a very coordinated experience,” Solterra’s Chief Strategist Stacie Jacobs said. “This is not just come and have fun in Paso. It is very focused on the message that we want to portray in hopes that everybody will find their 

 and the different [experinces] that are showunique story angle through the people they meet cased.” Jacobs continued, “We vet the writers very strongly to ensure that they are coming here with the intent to write a story, and hopefully, multiple stories as a result of that.”

Jacobs gave an example of a San Diego journalist enamored with the local craft beer scene. She said that Paso Travel continues to work with him to develop a story delving into that specific angle. 

“This time we really focused on the San Diego market because of the new direct flight that opened on Jan. 7,” Jacobs said. “Working with our tourism partners through SLO CAL and other destinations, we put together a tour where we had six journalists on the inaugural flight from San Diego.”

NYT isn’t the only one singing the City’s praises. Paso has found its way into such publications as Forbes and National Geographic. Stroud told the Council that through building a relationship with Nat Geo writer Danielle Bernabe, the City garnered two articles from her. Stroud reminded the Council that the publication reaches over 25 million readers. 

It’s not only wine that draws journalists’ attention. Forbes contributor Leslie Kelly wrote about her exploits while searching for the best Tri-Tip in Paso Robles Wine Country. Kelly was also hosted by Travel Paso in 2019 and also wrote two articles about the City. Forbes’s online presence reaches approximately 23 million readers.

“When we invest in the relationships with this journalist,” Jacob said concerning Kelly, “it tends to manifest for us and we tend to get more out of it in time as their different outlets and different opportunities open up,” said Jacobs. 

Councilmember Strong pointed out that promoting the city is good for business. There is a correlation between economic growth and tourism. It is a common story told on the Central Coast how people visited here, fell in love with the are and decided to move here. And it is not only people that move here but also businesses.

“We see tourism as really a key instigator for bringing more businesses here,” Jacobs said. “Most communities of 30,000 people they don’t have the kind of restaurant scene that we have, they don’t have an amphitheater, they don’t have 250 wineries that are surrounding them.”

Among the other publications that listed Paso as a desirable destination were Travel and Leisure — which placed Paso in its top 50 list — and Travel Lemming — listing the city in its top 30 emerging destinations.

The bottom line? Being good to journalists is good for business.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles