Tourism in LA has the wind at its back, with record hotel occupancy, a busy convention season and holiday season ahead, and countless exciting developments on the horizon. LATCB hosted its inaugural Tourism Market Outlook Forum to a sold out crowd, charted the course to 50 million visitors; and is gearing up to launch some exciting fall and winter arts and entertainment programs. This month also brings news of major new hotel developments, the new TBIT nearing completion, and lots of updates on local industry news.
Hundreds of tourism business leaders attended the sold-out Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB) inaugural Market Outlook Forum on Wednesday, Aug. 14 to hear LATCB’s key initiatives for 2014, the course charted to reach 50 million visitors by 2020, and valuable insights from nationally renowned tourism experts.
The day-long conference featured presentations and panel discussions with the tourism industry’s leading experts from the U.S. Travel Association, Brand USA; Visit California, Google Travel, LATCB and many others.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Tom LaBonge helped kick off the event with Master of Ceremonies, LATCB’s President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. In his opening remarks, Mayor Garcetti underscored the central role that tourism plays in LA’s economy, community and culture and reiterated his ongoing commitment to expanding the tourism industry in LA. He also acknowledged the LA hotel and tourism business leaders in the audience for their contributions to Los Angeles.
"Putting the recession in our rearview mirror is my No.1 priority. Jumpstarting our economy starts with our core industries, one of which is tourism. Tourism has been a bright spot even during the recession, and the numbers are still going up. I want to continue that momentum," said Mayor Garcetti, who as 13th District Councilman helped lead an economic revival in Hollywood.
To read a detailed recap of the Market Outlook Forum, click here.
LATCB President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. has been appointed Vice President of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Board Council. LATCB is participating in the WTCF’s Annual Conference and Travel Fair, Sept. 9 - 14, where Wooden will conduct a presentation on how cities can support the development of air travel, highlighting LATCB’s strong partnership with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). The organization was established in 2012 by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development with support from the Beijing Municipal Government. LATCB is one of the founding members and was the first and only destination from the United States invited by the Chinese government to participate. This is a major step in elevating LA’s stature and branding image in China, our largest market for overseas travel to LA, and one of our most promising areas of visitation. The annual conference and expo aims to facilitate relationships and interactions among major cities in which the tourism industry is a major economic driver.
As part of the celebration of the unprecedented cultural eclipse of anniversaries in LA, we are launching our Museum Season in October, offering savings of more than $500 to help celebrate. Visitors who book two nights or more at any participating Los Angeles area hotel from Oct. 7 through Nov. 12, 2013, will receive two free museum passes and gift shop discounts at over 30 of LA’s biggest arts institutions.
LA’s oldest museum in continuous operation, the Natural History Museum, celebrates its 100th anniversary with the recent opening of Becoming Los Angeles—a 14,000 sq. ft. exhibit that pays tribute to LA’s heritage and explores the natural and cultural history of Southern California. The Getty Center is gearing up for its 15th anniversary later this year and the Walt Disney Concert Hall is celebrating a decade with a series of performances and events in September and October. At the center of the festivities, the legendary Hollywood Sign’s famous 50-foot tall letters will mark 90 years on Sept. 19 as LA’s most recognizable landmark.
LATCB is partnering with member hotels to offer special travel packages inspired by our Car Free LA program, launched on Earth Day in April, 2013. Designed as an eco-tourism initiative, Car Free LA currently offers seven expertly-tailored, self-guided tours to help travelers explore the city’s various neighborhoods via food, bike and Metro. To encourage even more visitors to walk and bike around town, participating hotels can sign up to roll out Car Free LA-inspired packages to give travelers even more options to plan a car-free vacation in LA. From scenic bike rides along the sparkling Pacific and charming Westwood storefronts to LA’s Museum Row and world-famous celeb hot spots in West Hollywood, LATCB and our hotel partners are giving visitors the tools they need to navigate the destination without the stress of traffic. Packages include amenities such as pedometers, car-free maps or guided bike tours. To view the free Car Free LA itineraries, visit www.discoverLosAngeles.com/CarFreeLA.
As part of the program, LATCB will celebrate World Car Free Day on Sept. 22. Consumers are invited to join staff for a guided Car Free Tour experience.
If you are interested in offering a Car Free LA Hotel Package, or already have car-free options such as bicycles for guests to use that LATCB can promote, please send an email to [email protected].
LATCB is currently conducting economic impact studies on the Rose Bowl, the Tournament of Roses, the BET Experience which took place at L.A. LIVE in June 2013, the NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Championship which took place at STAPLES Center in March 2013, and the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games coming up in Los Angeles. Economic impact studies are an important method that LATCB has of measuring the economic benefits of tourism, which gives us tools to advocate for investing in the growth of tourism. It also helps LATCB to more accurately target events to pursue which could bring the greatest potential benefit to our members and the overall LA community.
FOUR 13-STORY TOWERS PLANNED FOR HISTORIC CORE WITH MEDALLION 2.0
Medallion developer Saeed Farkhondehpour has announced plans for Medallion 2.0 in Downtown’s Historic Core area. The project at Third and Main could include four 13-story towers with up to 400 residential units, a boutique hotel, a public park, a five-level parking structure, numerous retail spaces, and possibly a small movie theater.
Downtown News also reports that Farkhondehpour plans upgrades to his Medallion 1.0, which opened in 2010 with 96 residential units at Fourth and Main. Additions would include a permanent farmers' market with at least 50 vendors in a 27,000 sq. ft. space in partnership with the organization that runs the farmers' markets at Pershing Square, FIGat7th, City Hall and other Downtown locations.
ACE HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN NEAR COMPLETION
The Ace Hotel is also quickly nearing completion. When the newest outpost of the highly fashionable boutique hotel opens later this year in the renovated United Artists Building, it will coincide with the Bring Back Broadway Initiative to revitalize the Historic Theatre District. That initiative also includes a new Downtown Street Car, with construction set to begin next year. The new Street Car route will run from L.A. LIVE and Staples CENTER up through the historic core to the Music Center, Disney Hall and Grand Park, bringing the interconnectivity of Downtown to a whole new level.
THE LINE HOTEL
The Line Hotel is scheduled to open later this year in Koreatown in the former Wilshire Plaza on Wilshire Blvd. and Normandie Ave. The highly anticipated new hotel is being billed as “the first lifestyle hotel in the United States to draw upon Korean and Korean-American culture, food and design.” It is a collaboration between the Sydell Group of hoteliers, creators of such hot properties as Ace New York and The NoMad, and Roy Choi, one of LA's great celebrity chefs (whose restaurants include A-Frame, Kogi BBQ Trucks and Chego). The Houston Brothers, who opened trendy bars La Descarga and Harvard & Stone designed the bar. Artist and designer Sean Knibb and design collective Poketo designed the aesthetics of the hotel. The Line is a symbol of the growing Korean-American community in LA, and the growing South Korean visitation to Los Angeles as LA's sixth largest overseas market.
For more information, please visit www.thelinehotel.com.
TOM BRADLEY INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL OPENS SEPT. 18
The New Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX (LAX) is advancing rapidly, with the opening set for Sept. 18. When complete, the new $1.9-billion terminal will have 18 gates, nine of which can handle the A380 next- generation jets – more than any other airport in America. Upgraded passenger facilities will speed up security and baggage processing. A stunningly beautiful new Great Hall will welcome passengers with multimedia art pieces, luxurious lounges and more than 60 ultra high-end shops and restaurants, many of them from famous LA-based brands to reflect the experience visitors will have in LA. Extensive upgrades to domestic terminals and a runway expansion, are also on the way.
For more information, visit lawa.org/LA-neXt/index2.html
A380 SERVICE FROM LONDON HEATHROW TO LAX TO START IN SEPTEMBER
British Airways has confirmed Sept. 24 as the launch date of its A380 service from London Heathrow Airport to LAX. BA is the first UK carrier to take delivery of the double-decker, the world's largest commercial jet.
For more information, visit www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/flight-information/airbus-a380
EMIRATES TO START NEW A380 SERVICES TO LAX
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines, best known for their ultra-luxurious flights with lie-flat beds and on-board showers, has announced that it will begin direct air service with the double-decker Airbus A380 to Los Angeles beginning in Dec. 2013. This route brings the number of A380 planes into LAX to eight, coming from Sydney, Melbourne, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Guangzhou, London and now Dubai.
For more information, visit www.emirates.com/us/english/flying/our_fleet/emirates_a380/news_and_even...