Fall and summer are normally delightful times to visit California's wine country and mountain resorts, but in recent years these seasons have become synonymous with wildfires of historic proportions. While tourism infrastructure has been largely unscathed and overall visitor numbers remain high, those who manage and market tourism to California are up against long-term challenges.
Communities are struggling to rebuild after the fires, which have exacerbated one of California's most pressing issues — a lack of affordable housing. Fewer people employed by tourism-related businesses can afford to live in or near the destinations in which they work. Another challenge is to redirect tourism, especially in wine country, away from the popular but fire-prone fall harvest season.
Increasingly, destination marketing organizations in the state are working with local governments and other entities to address housing, traffic, climate change, and other issues. They realize it's no longer just about getting people to visit the destination — it's about ensuring the destination remains a worthwhile place to visit.
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