John Poimiroo was awarded the California Travel Industry’s lifetime achievement award, the F. Norman Clark Tourism Champion of the Year award on May 31 in San Diego.
Poimiroo is editor and publisher of CaliforniaFallColor.com, writes a travel column for California’s oldest newspaper, the Mountain Democrat, produces travel programs for the American Forces Network and freelances travel articles for varied magazines, though it was his long career in travel and tourism marketing communications and service as California’s State Tourism Director in the 1990s that caused him to be honored by CalTravel.
A past president of CalTravel, he was Vice President of Communications for Yosemite Park & Curry Co. in 1992, when Governor Pete Wilson picked him to serve as California’s State Tourism Director. That led to Poimiroo proposing that state tourism marketing be funded through a marketing order, similar to those used to promote California agricultural products (e.g., Got Milk). At the time, California allocated only $3.2 million to promote the state. Today, over $100 million is generated from travel industry-approved assessments for state tourism marketing.
Poimiroo also conceived legislation that created California Welcome Centers and Tourist Oriented Directional Signs (TODS), financing them through industry fees and self-financing rather than by taxing state residents. He also was instrumental in founding the National Parks Promotion Council, California Cultural Heritage Council, and California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism.
During his nearly 50-year career, Poimiroo has received over 50 awards for travel writing, photography, publicity, marketing and advertising, including the Outdoor Writers Association of California’s Writer of the Year and Society of American Travel Writers’ Bronze Bill Muster award for Cultural Photography. He has directed marketing and PR at Eldora Ski Area, Squaw Valley, Marriott’s Great America, Roaring Camp Railroads, Yosemite National Park, and represented numerous consumer products, firms and destinations at PR agencies in San Francisco, Houston and at his own firm, Poimiroo & Partners in El Dorado Hills.