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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

From Red Carpet to the American Riviera: Tourism Portfolio hosts California dream

From the entertainment capital of the world to the American Riviera, few destinations can keep pace with California’s excitement, style and glamour, as a small group of Australians discovered recently during a pre-IMEX tour hosted by Lizard IncentEVENTS and Tourism Portfolio.

The four-day tour started in Los Angeles, where the group checked in at the chic Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey and lunched in Beverly Hills before exploring a range of cultural and entertainment venues, including the Hollywood Hill’s Mansion, Petersen Museum in Mid City and Madame Tussaud’s.

Tourism Portfolio tour USNext they travelled down the Pacific Coast to Santa Barbara in Southern California. Located around 145km from LA, the city is known affectionately as the American Riviera thanks to its Mediterranean climate, vineyards, fine dining and beautiful harbour.

On a Santa Barbara Trolley tour the Australian delegates – representing BI Worldwide, 212F and The Conference Room - visited the Santa Barbara Mission and a Santa Barbara landmark, the Granada Theater. 

Built in 1924, the theatre re-opened in 2008 after a $50 million refurbishment that established it as the centrepoint of the city's vibrant downtown cultural district.

The group also toured Santa Ynez Valley (the region’s wine country), watched a polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club and took a look at the legendary 85-foot luxury sailing catamaran, Channel Cat. Launched in 1999, the vessel is owned by Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger and hosts around 200 events a year.

The 'Red Carpet to American Riviera' tour was organised by US-based Lizard IncentEVENTS (, which is represented in Australia by Sydney-based Tourism Portfolio.

Tourism Portfolio Managing Director Donna Kessler says the quality and variety of venues and activities available in the US is one of the reasons the destination remains so popular with the Australian MICE market.

“Lizard IncentEVENTS not only showcased some unique options for Los Angeles," says Kessler, "they also demonstrated how the city could be combined with Santa Barbara to create a fresh and innovative experience for Australian groups."

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