The San Francisco Tour Guide Guild hosted about 20 travel professionals on a tour through western Nevada County Thursday.
“Nevada City and Grass Valley are two of the best preserved towns from the Gold Rush,” said Melissa Nelson Brown, a director of the San Francisco Tour Guide Guild.
The group’s visit featured a 24-hour experience that focused on the historic downtowns of Grass Valley and Nevada City and the Empire Mine.
“There is so much to do within a short distance,” Nelson Brown said.
Anita Rao, another tour director with the group, said the tour will help travel industry professionals direct potential tourists from the San Francisco to the Sierra foothills.
“Rather than stay in Tahoe for two nights, perhaps people would prefer to stay a night here before continuing to Tahoe,” Rao said. “It helps tour guides put together itineraries.”
The tour is the result of a year-long effort spearheaded by Susan George, president of the Regional Chambers of Commerce of Nevada County.
“We are hopeful that once all of these people are introduced to the attractions of Nevada County, they will organize tours of our area,” said George.
“We feel it’s important to establish relationships that will encourage more tourism,” George continued. “These tours could be a real economic benefit to our community. They’ll be staying in our hotels, dining in our restaurants and shopping in our shops.
“We have a small amount of funding to sponsor this,” said George. “The local business community has really stepped up to help us put it all together.”
The sponsoring businesses are joined by several other groups and organizations that are providing support, funding and merchandise for the visit and to fill visitor swag bags.
Other participants include the Grass Valley Downtown Association, Sierra Vintners, Nevada County ERC Tourism Committee and the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
The Regional Chambers of Commerce of Nevada County was formed in 2010 to better facilitate collaborative projects among county chambers. It includes the Greater Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley Area, Rough and Ready, South Nevada County and Truckee Donner chambers of commerce.
Rao said it was important for the participants to get a first-hand feel for the foothills.
“There is nothing like a little experiential learning,” she said.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.