Looking up at the Silver Bullet roller coaster ride at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.

The Silver Bullet ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. The city’s destination marketer, Jeremy Peterson ’14, says new rides and water slides are planned at Knott’s.

Tourism is a major force in the Orange County economy, employing nearly 200,000 people, according to the latest Orange County Workforce Indicators Report. Destination marketers are at the forefront of representing all that the county has to offer to visitors from around the world. Jeremy Peterson ’14 (marketing) discusses his position as a destination marketer for Visit Buena Park and opportunities in the Orange County hospitality industry.

Southern California residents and international visitors alike know Buena Park as the home of Knott’s Berry Farm. But the city of more than 80,000 has a number of things to see and do, including a scale replica of Independence Hall, a historic district, and Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Jeremy Peterson ’14 is a leader in representing the city to the traveling public. The Mihaylo marketing alumnus joined the city’s tourism bureau in 2014, following a four-year role as marketing assistant for The Walt Disney Company in Anaheim.

Opportunities in Entertainment and Tourism

When you think of tourism jobs, hotel, restaurant or attraction employment might come to mind. Yet destination marketing is critical for developing and promoting cities, regions, states and countries as a place for visitors, conventions and even motion picture filming. Destination marketers have played a major role in putting Orange County at the forefront of the Southern California visitor experience.

“In 2015, Orange County saw a significant growth in tourism with annual visitors surpassing Los Angeles and Las Vegas,” says Peterson. “This speaks volumes to the opportunities that are available in every facet of the tourism industry here in Orange County and the resulting chance to work somewhere that aligns with your personal goals and interests.”

Peterson says his role incorporates many activities, and there is no such thing as a typical workday. “One of my favorite aspects of my job is the wide range of projects that we work on,” he says. “In my position, I’ve been able to travel the world to talk about the destination, work on the development of a new website, manage social media campaigns, create video content, meet with state officials to promote tourism, create digital and print campaigns, develop media strategies and implement new digital marketing efforts.”

Mihaylo College grad Jeremy Peterson '14 standing behind a podium representing the Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau at a conference in Canada.

Jeremy Peterson ’14 represents Orange County at a tourism convention in Canada. Peterson has traveled around the world to promote Buena Park.

Buena Park: Today and Tomorrow

Buena Park already draws millions of visitors each year, but a major revitalization is planned that will create a new entertainment complex downtown. “Soon visitors will be able to stay at four new hotels, shop at a trendy new shopping center, catch a 4-D movie complete with smells and special effects, grab a bite to eat at Porto’s Bakery, and step inside an indoor rainforest with thousands of butterflies and the world’s largest jellyfish aquarium at the Butterfly Palladium,” he says.

For more information on Buena Park, visit the city’s tourism website or stop by Peterson’s workplace, the California Welcome Center at 6601 Beach Boulevard. Housed in the historic 1890 Stage Stop Hotel, the center provides brochures, coupons and souvenirs for Buena Park and Orange County, as well as the broader Southwest U.S. region.

Mihaylo Tourism Programs

Mihaylo College educates the next generation of hospitality professionals by emphasizing the business aspect of the industry. For more on Mihaylo’s entertainment and tourism program, visit the Mihaylo Entertainment & Tourism Management Center online or at SGMH 5357A. The center hosts networking events and provides resources for finding internships. Students can also participate in Behind the Scenes, a club that offers industry tours and regular panel discussions.

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