By Christin Ayers

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland is hoping to shed its shady image by launching a public relations campaign to attract tourists.

Portland, Oregon is the first destination for the campaign, and it the timing might be just right.

“Oakland, the crime rate is high, from what I hear,” said Portland resident Jacob Miller.

But, Oakland is hoping to give Potland a lesson in Oaklandish.

“The Oakland you don’t know is the name of the campaign because we feel a lot of people don’t know Oakland,” said Visit Oakland’s Kim Bardakian.

Visit Oakland’s research has shown that leisure travelers from up north like to roadtrip California, including San Francisco, Napa, and Los Angeles. But, they rarely stay in Oakland.

“I would drive through there. I wouldn’t make it a destination. I can’t think of any reason to go,” said Portland resident Nick Badger.

One of the major challenges facing Oakland’s tourism is the lack of hotel rooms. Just about 4,000 rooms are available in Oakland, forcing even visiting sports teams to stay out of town when they play there.

“We’re working on it. There are definitely plans of developers in the next few years coming in key parts of Oakland to bring in new hotels,” said Bardakian.

Portlanders say if they build it, they might come.

“If it’s cheap flights to Oakland, yeah, probably,” said Badger.

Portland isn’t the campaign’s only target.  Visit Oakland plans to start in the Northwest, and spread to other states, and even outside the country.



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