The Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau was recently with a SASI (Shop America Salutes Innovation) award for “Best Dining Tourism Program” by a destination marketing organization in the United States at the 2012 ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining & Cultural Tourism held last month.
“Research shows that Foodies travel and stay in destinations based on the appeal of their restaurants. It’s exciting to have such a vast array of culinary experiences in our distinctive coastal destination,” said Judith Bijlani, president and CEO of the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau.
The Shop America Alliance, US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and the Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance recognized retailers, restaurants, shopping centers and destination management organizations around the country for excellence in successful, high-quality dining, cultural and shopping tourism programs.
The Laguna Beach Foodies program was initiated in 2011 and currently has 3,500 official opt-in members on its website, www.lagunabeachfoodies.com. With exclusive special offers for participants, the program is featured in the Laguna Beach dining guide, “In Good Taste.” Another component of the winning entry included the inaugural Laguna Beach a la Carte – A Food & Wine Experience in spring of 2011. The upcoming event, March 8-11, will feature an expanded one-day wine and food fest on the Festival of Arts grounds.
“This program was created to showcase the unique opportunity for one-of-a-kind epicurean experiences paired with a beach resort getaway,” said Karyn Philippsen, chairman of the board of the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau.