LA Tourism President & CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr., former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey at the Tom Bradley International Terminal preview.

LA's exciting summer continues as LA Tourism works on an exciting sneak preview of LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal, represents LA’s attractions to the world at International Pow Wow, gears up for dineLA Summer Restaurant Week, and gains significant media coverage for the destination and our members and partners, and much more.


LA Tourism participated in the June 20 media preview of the new and highly anticipated Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The event included demonstrations of the shops and services, a press conference, discussion panels on several subjects, and a sneak peek into the $1.9 billion facility that will have 18 state-of-the-art boarding gates, nine of which will accommodate the new-generation aircraft such as the A380. When TBIT opens, it will accommodate more large, next-generation aircraft than any other airport in the U.S. Once all phases are complete later this year, the new TBIT will feature 61 new dining and shopping options within its new Great Hall including exclusive high-end shops (Hermes, Gucci, Armani), locally-based retailers (Kitson, Fred Segal) and well-known LA restaurants (Border Grill, Umami Burger, LAMILL, Ink.Sack). This project is considered to be one of the largest public works initiatives in the history of the City of Los Angeles, and it will make LA even more welcoming to international travelers.


In related LAX airport news, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines, best known for their ultra-luxurious flights with lie-flat beds and on-board showers, will bring the double-decker Airbus A-380 to Los Angeles beginning in December. This route brings to eight the number of A-380 planes into LAX, coming from Sydney, Melbourne, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Guangzhou, London and now Dubai. Every new direct international air route into LAX brings approximately $625 million to our local economy.


Board Member Carl Schuster

Board Member Carl Schuster was nominated Board Chairman of LA Tourism and confirmed by the Board on Thursday, June 27, replacing outgoing Board Chairman Tom Mullen. Schuster is CEO and President of Wolfgang Puck Catering and has over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. Building on a career with Radisson, Omni Hotels, Walter Staib & Associates, the Kimpton Group, and Restaurant Associates, Schuster partnered with Wolfgang Puck in 1998 to found the Wolfgang Puck Catering company and develop a plan for nationwide growth. With $100 million in annual revenues, the company operates venues and off-premise catering operations across the country. In 2004, Schuster orchestrated the sale of 40% of the company to Compass Group, a $21 billion international food service company traded on the London stock exchange. Also in 2004, Wolfgang Puck made Schuster a partner in future fine dining projects.

Schuster is an active member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Young Presidents Organization. He serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, and on the Executive Committee of LA Tourism. Schuster supports a broad range of philanthropic organizations. He has chaired the Southern California Invitational benefiting the American Cancer Society, and serves on the fundraising committee of the East Valley YMCA. He has supported Mattel Children’s Hospital and the greater UCLA Medical Center. He is a director of the Puck Lazaroff Charitable Foundation benefiting Meals-on-Wheels, and a committee member for the Harvest Auction benefiting the Cal Poly Pomona School of Hospitality. He also assists and supports the San Marino School District and Recreation & Parks Department.


Tom Mullen - Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances

Former LA Tourism Board Chairman Tom Mullen was appointed Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances by President & CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr. and joined the organization starting June 17. In this role, he will be responsible for maximizing new business development, corporate alliances and partner, member and visitor relations. Mullen was previously Vice President of Large Market Development for American Express in Los Angeles. He earned his BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Hawaii in 1987. He joined American Express in 1986 as a Financial Analyst and moved up through the Finance ranks, serving as Finance Manager for the Travel Group and the Travel Division and other key roles in AmEx’s travel markets. Tom served on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau including serving as Chairman, and as Chairman of the Marketing Committee. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Hotel Association, Hawaii Restaurant Association and Oahu Visitors Bureau. From 1996 to 1999 he served on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

In 1998 Mullen co-founded the Hale Aina Ohana, a non-profit 501c3 organization committed to providing educational opportunities to advance culinary education in high schools and community colleges as well as the culinary professionals in the State of Hawaii. He has chaired this organization since its inception and has raised over $400,000 in support of the culinary industry.


dineLA's Summer Restaurant Week

dineLA’s wildly popular Restaurant Week returns July 15 – 26, 2013 for its second Summer Edition. Headlining the event are some of Los Angeles’ brightest culinary sensations – Father’s Office founder Sang Yoon, Chef Govind Armstrong of Willie Jane and Post & Beam, Stefan Richter of “Top Chef” fame and many more. For 12 days, diners can get a taste of the vibrant Los Angeles restaurant scene with specially-priced $15, $20, and $25 lunch menus and $25, $35, and $45 dinner menus from hundreds of LA County’s most exciting restaurants. A special dineLA promotion offers travelers a $50 American Express Gift Card when they book a two-night stay on www.discoverLosAngeles.com at participating LA hotels during Restaurant Week. For more information, visit www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela

The first dineLA Restaurant Week was held in January 2008 and featured 143 restaurants from all over LA County. We now hold Restaurant Week in January and July, showcasing more than 300 restaurants during each event. Participating restaurants report an average 25% increase in sales during Restaurant Week. During the two Restaurant Weeks in 2012, as many as 300,000 diners participated, spending an additional $32 million in LA’s restaurants. 


LA Tourism President & CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr. and Universal Studios Hollywood's Vice President of Sales Thomas See with Universal's Transformers characters at International Pow Wow

LA Tourism represented the destinations, hotels, attractions and venues that make Los Angeles unique in the world at the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow, held June 8-12 in Las Vegas. LA Tourism had a large presence with several member hotels and attractions joining in the booth, held a press conference, and participated in the Media Marketplace to promote the destination and LA Tourism members.

The show filled three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, bringing together more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from across the country, representing all industry categories. Nearly 1,200 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries met under one roof to negotiate more than $3.5 billion in future travel to the United States.


From Left: Tom Mullen, Senior Vice President, LA Tourism; former LA City Councilmember Jan Perry; Michael D. Gallagher, President & CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA); Bud Ovrom, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world’s premiere trade show for video games and related products, held June 11-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), was the largest convention of the year in LA. E3 2013 drew approximately 48,200 industry professionals who came to experience groundbreaking new technologies and never-before-seen products for computers, video game consoles, handheld systems, mobile and social, and the Internet. Last year, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LA Tourism secured the deal with the Entertainment Software Association, owner of E3, to host the trade show in Los Angeles in 2013, 2014 and 2015. This year it generated an estimated 28,000 hotel room nights in 33 LA area hotels and $40 million in economic impact for LA’s economy.


Bud Ovrom, Executive Director, Los Angeles Convention Center

Robert "Bud" Ovrom was confirmed by the City Council as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 22. Ovrom, who was General Manager of the LA Department of Building & Safety, was tapped by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to head the LACC on May 7. Ovrom has served as City Manager of both Burbank and Monrovia, and was a Deputy Mayor for Economic Development during Villaraigosa' first term, overseeing the LACC and major tourism projects such as L.A. LIVE.

The LA City Council voted unanimously to award AEG the contract to manage the city-owned Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, June 26. 

Many new elected officials took office as of July 1 in the City of Los Angeles following the May elections. Eric Garcetti, Councilmember representing the 13th District, began his term as LA's Mayor. Former Councilmember, State Assemblymember and attorney Mike Feuer took office as City Attorney. Lawyer Ron Galperin took office as City Controller. Former State Senator and Assembly member Gil Cedillo took office as Councilmember of District 1. Curren D. Price, Jr., former State Senator and Assemblymember, is the new Councilmember serving the 9th District. Mitch O'Farrell, former aide to Councilmember Eric Garcetti, is the new Councilmember for District 13. For a directory listing the office contact information for all of the Councilmembers, visit www.lacity.org/government/ElectedOfficialOffices/CityCouncil/CouncilDirectory/index.htm.
For the Mayor’s office, visit mayor.lacity.org. For the City Attorney’s office, visit atty.lacity.org. For the City Controller’s office, visit controller.lacity.org.

LA Tourism President & CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr. released an official statement on the decision by the United States Supreme Court to deny the appeal of Proposition 8, the California ban on same-sex marriage. The decision effectively makes marriage equality a constitutional right in California.

“Today is a great day for equality in California as well as Los Angeles,” Wooden said. “The very heart of the tourism and hospitality industry is to welcome all people. LA’s hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums and cultural institutions look forward to rolling out a welcome mat for those visiting Los Angeles. We see our city as a premier wedding destination for all people, and I personally invite them to come to LA to celebrate this triumph of freedom and equality.”

LGBT travelers are a significant and growing tourism market, already accounting for 6% of all visitation to Los Angeles, or 2.6 million visitors annually. Los Angeles is the 5th most visited destination by LGBT travelers in the US, and is one of the top destinations for LGBT families. Nationally, the annual economic impact of LGBT travelers is approximately $63.3 billion, according to data from the US Department of Commerce and CMI sample demographics.

Los Angeles Green Lodging Program Announced

The City of Los Angeles offers a Green Lodging Program to certify hotels and lodging properties in LA that implement certain environmentally friendly practices. The Green Lodging Program is part of the City's Green Business Certification Program and is a partnership between the Bureau of Sanitation, LA Tourism and Green Seal Inc. Green Seal will certify lodging facilities using their Environmental Standard for Hotels and Lodging Properties, LA Tourism will promote the program, and the Bureau of Sanitation will serve as coordinator. Since the program was implemented, eight hotels have been certified. For more information on the program, please contact George Payba, Bureau of Sanitation, at (213) 485-3698 or [email protected] or visit http://environmentla.org.

New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX's TBIT

Star Alliance has released images of its new passenger lounge as part of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The lounge is inspired by mid-century modern architectural design born in Southern California and is open to travelers on any of Star Alliance’s member airlines. A unique feature is the open-air terrace where guests can relax beside a cozy fireplace by night or by a water feature while enjoying views of the Hollywood hills under the California sunshine by day. www.staralliance.com, www.lawa.com