To Our Valued Tourism Partners,
While I normally view my monthly message as an opportunity to provide key updates on our industry, this is one of those unique moments when world events simply must take precedence. As part of a global community, I am deeply troubled by the events unfolding in Ukraine – a potent reminder that we must never take the freedoms we enjoy as Americans for granted.
As one of the world’s most diverse places, Angelenos hail from more than 140 nations, including more than 26,000 Ukrainians who call our City of Angels home. For those of you who have family, friends or loved ones in harm’s way, I pray for their safety.
Beyond that, I’m struck by the remarkable acts of courage and compassion that the Ukrainian people have shown daily in the face of incredible adversity. Seeing not just expatriates – but volunteers from around the world – travel to Ukraine to help defend people who they’ve never even met is a testament to the fact that, ultimately, there is far more that unites us than what divides us.
I passionately believe that our industry has a foundational role to play in celebrating our shared humanity as we explore the world around us and learn about other cultures and traditions. As Mark Twain famously said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
It is my sincere hope that – in coming together to support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine – we would also use this extraordinary moment to set aside the polarization that has dominated our national discourse in recent years, and once again celebrate the Great Experiment that has historically made the United States a beacon of hope and freedom for people around the world.
As the world watches in shock and condemnation of an unprovoked attack on a sovereign, fledgling democracy, how can we do anything less?
All my best,
Los Angeles Tourism