Words From Wooden - August 2013

President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr., LATCB

We in Los Angeles find ourselves at a pivotal moment. We are poised to drive to our monumental goal of welcoming 50 million annual visitors to Los Angeles by 2020. Working together like never before is what will bring us there. 

Last year, our record-breaking 41.4 million visitors spent $16.5 billion in LA. Fifty million visitors would mean nearly doubling that. In order to get there, we must have more hotel capacity – currently our average occupancy is at nearly 80%, which means many hotels are 100% occupied for much of the year. In order to reach 50 million visitors, LA must attract new and bigger hotels so that we can absorb the increase in visitation, and can secure the largest conventions. 

We just received terrific news about an important milestone on our road to 50 million, with the announcement that Chinese developer, Shanghai Greenland Group, plans to build a $1 billion,  275,450-square-foot Metropolis hotel project in downtown LA with up to 1,000 rooms. The project will be ideally located next to the FIGat7th shopping center and Metro Station and near L.A. LIVE and the Los Angeles Convention Center, and will feature offices, apartments and luxury homes. 

We are making great progress already – with the opening of the second LATCB office in China, in the city of Shanghai this spring, the opening of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX later this year, and with the promise of the Metropolis project on the horizon. 

In order to reach our ultimate destination, we must come together as a community to support all things tourism. That is why LATCB is hosting our first-ever Market Outlook Forum, “A Culture of Tourism – The Road to 50 Million,” on Aug. 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  

This informational, educational and inspirational event offers a uniquely valuable opportunity for executives in the hotel, restaurant, arts and culture, meetings and conventions, real estate, and event planning businesses, to name a few. Some of the most authoritative voices in the tourism industry will offer the most recent, relevant, and comprehensive Los Angeles tourism market information, analysis and forecasts. 

The Market Outlook Forum will offer you tools to support your business and to bring us together to support the initiatives, projects, people and investments that will drive visitation to our city and make LA ready to accommodate 50 million visitors. It will help our tourism industry make the case to the community that tourism matters, and will help transform our city into a 4 million-person welcoming committee. We need every Angeleno who loves living in LA to welcome our visitors and sing the praises of our wonderful city and all that it has to offer. Together, our voices can be heard by people across the country and across the world, who will want to plan a vacation, business trip or conference in Los Angeles. 

I know we can reach 50 million visitors if we come together and create a Culture of Tourism. As always, LATCB will be there working hard on behalf of our members and partners, and ensuring that the world keeps coming to LA.  

With best wishes,

Ernest Wooden Jr.
President and CEO
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board