L.A. Tourism CEO Joins Travel Industry Leaders to Discuss Industry Priorities with White House Officials

Senior Obama Administration officials heard from leaders about growing tourism in the U.S, while keeping country secure

Washington, D.C. – Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr was among a small group of travel industry leaders from across the country at the White House today to meet with senior Administration officials on the priorities of the travel and tourism industry in the United States. The briefing highlighted ways to promote tourism by improving customs and other border procedures that foreign visitors face when they visit the U.S., along with travel promotion efforts at the national, state and city destination levels.

Administration officials gave an update on the economy and discussed how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other Agencies work to promote tourism while protecting our borders. Additionally, the briefing included a discussion on ways to improve the tourists’ experience by upgrading our airports and other points of entry. 

“As travel continues to grow in size and significance, more jobs are being created and more dollars are being infused into our economy.  L.A.’s tourism industry supports 422,000 jobs in L.A. County and is adding new local jobs faster than any other industry.  Nationally, millions of jobs are supported by tourism” said Wooden.  “International visitation is a particular area of focus because these visitors stay longer and infuse more money into our economy.  Grow international visitation and we stimulate our economy five-fold.  Los Angeles is a major gateway destination – we play a strategically significant role in this process and are positioned to reap the benefits.”

“We’ve organized a number of briefings like todays, where business leaders from across the country brief the officials managing our borders,” said Jim Doyle, Business Forward president and briefing organizer. “Their suggestions have helped speed up customs lines at airports and streamline procedures elsewhere, giving a boost to tourism and our economic recovery."
 
Senior White House officials who participated in the briefing included:
Dr. Mark Doms, Under Secretary of Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce
Ali Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Ken Hyatt, Acting Undersecretary, International Trade Administration
Ed Ramotowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State
John Pistole, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Kevin McAleenan, Acting Deputy Commissioner, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Jonathan Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
Bruce Andrews, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Commerce
Brandon Belford, Senior Policy Advisor, National Economic Council
Sam Brown, Director, White House Business Council

About the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board was created in 1977 as a private, not-for-profit business association.  It is recognized as the official sales and marketing organization for Los Angeles, responsible for developing leisure and meetings business for the economic benefit of the community.  For more information about meetings and conventions in Los Angeles, visit discoverlosangeles.com/meetLA.

About Business Forward

With the help of more than 50 of the world's most respected companies, Business Forward is making it easier for tens of thousands of business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate economic recovery. Business Forward has organized hundreds of local briefings with more than 450 senior Administration officials, Members of Congress, mayors and governors.

To date, Business Forward has also brought more than 3,000 business leaders to the White House to brief the President's economic advisors. Business leaders who have participated in our briefings have seen their suggestions implemented in the Affordable Care Act, the Jobs Act, three trade agreements and every one of the President's budgets. Many have also shared their recommendations with their representatives in Congress and through op-eds and interviews with local media. Ninety-eight out of 100 business leaders who have participated in a Business Forward briefing would be interested in participating in another one.