The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region announced plans Jan. 14, 2016, to launch programs to address regional reputation and branding concerns in the wake of the May 19, 2015, crude oil release near Gaviota.

The efforts, funded by a contribution from Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., will both augment tourism promotion and branding efforts led by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and organize a fishing and seafood industry association led by the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region with the support of Visit Santa Barbara.

Shortly following the release, Plains engaged leadership of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce to identify opportunities to address potential regional reputational concerns related to the release.

The resulting proposals from each Chamber were funded by Plains.

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce will use its funds to increase its previously planned tourism advertising spending, promoting Goleta as a tourist destination to residents of other California communities.

“With this program, we will be able to amplify our existing destination marketing efforts,” said Kristen Miller, CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. “These funds will significantly increase our advertising reach and continue to showcase the Goleta Valley as a great place to visit. Plains has demonstrated to me their commitment to our community, and I’m pleased to have their support in strengthening our existing efforts to make Goleta a travel destination for Californians.”

The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region’s program will use its funds to provide support to local fisherman and to bolster the reputation of Santa Barbara seafood while promoting commercial and sport fishing interests. 

“Much like the farm-to-table movement, we have an opportunity to promote Santa Barbara seafood in a way that will support local businesses and provide new opportunities for fishing and seafood-related tourism experiences. The local fishing industry, commercial and recreational, will benefit from this cohesive branding and advertising effort,” said Ken Oplinger, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region. “I’d like to thank Plains All American Pipeline for taking the steps to support the fishing industry after the spill.”

Plains will also contribute to the countywide Economic Vitality Team, which is administered by the Santa Barbara Chamber.

“We deeply regret the accidental release of oil from Line 901 and the impact it had on this community, the environment and wildlife. Supporting these new initiatives is another opportunity for Plains to demonstrate our commitment to do the right thing and do it quickly,” said Mark Gorman, Plains executive vice president for operations and engineering. “I look forward to seeing the impact the Chambers’ work will have on the tourism and fishing industries in the Santa Barbara and Goleta communities.” 

Funds were distributed in early November to both organizations. Work started immediately to implement each proposal.

— Ken Oplinger is the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region.