California Pits Journos Against Agents In An Amazing YVR Race

with Vickie Sam Paget

It’s a simple choice: Black t-shirts for media; blue t-shirts for travel trade.

And in a blink of an eye, I turned my back on all of my journalistic training and two decades of editorial experience and made my decision: “I’ll take a blue t-shirt, thanks.”

Jessica Renshaw, travel designer at Renshaw Travel, and Lynn Jakubowski, travel trade
manager at Visit Napa Valley, complete find-a-Happy-Hour-sign task on Granville Street.


So it was that I joined the Travel Trade teams at the Visit California Amazing Golden State Race in Vancouver this week – an event that saw 16 California destination representatives dash around the city Amazing Race-style in teams made up from 12 members of the media and 14 travel agents.

Armed with iPads, taxi vouchers, Aqua Bus passes and an assortment of dress-up items, the teams followed California-themed clues that led them to fun ‘roadside stop’ activities throughout the city.

Lynn Jakubowski, travel trade manager at Visit Napa Valley, Jessica Renshaw, travel designer at
Renshaw Travel, and Sarah Winters, director of sales at North Lake Tahoe.


Tasks included: Taking a photo of a team member dressed up as Elton John outside the Orpheum theatre; filming one team member as if they were a celebrity outside Vancouver Public Library; and photographing a team member with a paddleboard on Granville Island. 

Lynn Jakubowski, travel trade manager at Visit Napa Valley, strikes an
Elton John-style pose outside Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre.


The two-hour team-building exercise concluded with a California-inspired food and drink reception at the stylish Coast restaurant. 

Rand Hardy of Pier 39, Sophia Valdivia of Visit Huntington Beach, Alvin Parker of
North South Travel, Abby Perales of Into the Vineyard and Chris Moya of
WestJet enjoy a post-race drink.


“We typically do a lot of one-on-one meetings, trade shows and happy hour events,” explained Ally Carlson, Visit California account manager at DCI, “But we wanted to freshen things up and do something really fun! 

“California is such a fun state and we’re showcasing that, and the great thing is that Vancouver really lends itself well to showcase California. We have 16 destination partners with us and we planned activities that we could do in Vancouver that are very closely related to what they offer in their destinations -- whether that’s wine-tasting, biking, surfing, paddle-boarding or theatre. 

Daniella Middleton, vice president at DCI with Lynn Jakubowski, travel trade manager at Visit Napa Valley.


“It all came together so well and it’s such a great way to create relationships and network without just sitting at a desk.” 

For industry training opportunities with Visit California, visit www.star.visitcalifornia.com.

Sarah Winters, director of sales at North Lake Tahoe, Alvin Parker of North South Travel,
and Edna Ray, Air Canada BC regional sales manager.

Vickie Sam Paget

Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent

Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.



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