Words from Wooden - July 2013

Summer in Los Angeles continues to bring exciting and positive news for the LA tourism and hospitality industry.

Much of our staff just returned from International Pow Wow (IPW) in Las Vegas, where we represented the destinations, hotels, attractions and venues that make Los Angeles unique in the world. More than 5,500 delegates from 70 countries attended IPW to meet under one roof and negotiate more than $3.5 billion in future travel to the United States.

During the event, LA Tourism held a press conference to make some important announcements about tourism and hospitality in LA. We were joined by Roger Dow, President & CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and Thomas See, Vice President of Sales at Universal Studios Hollywood. There was a surprise visit from Universal Studios Hollywood’s terrific Transformers™ characters OPTIMUS PRIME and MEGATRON.

LA Tourism had a large presence with several member hotels and attractions joining in our booth, and we also participated in the Media Marketplace to promote the LA destination and LA Tourism members. LA Tourism’s International Marketing Team met one-on-one with more than 200 buyers from international and domestic markets, and attended numerous networking sessions. We also received across-the-board rave reviews about LA’s job in hosting IPW in  2012. 

Events such as IPW play an important role in growing visitation to LA and promoting our partners and members.

A record-breaking 41.4 million total visitors came to Los Angeles last year, and we expect to break that record again with 42 million this year. LA Tourism has the opportunity to welcome 50 million visitors to Los Angeles by 2020. That is a big number and a bold goal.  It’s aggressive.  But we can get there.

A crucial component of getting to 50 million visitors is the new $1.9 billion Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at LAX. Expected to open in late 2013, it is an architectural masterpiece sure to become an LA landmark, and represents a major enhancement of the airport and the city’s global competitive position to gain more international travelers. LA Tourism staff worked on the media sneak preview of the TBIT’s Great Hall, with its 61 top-of-the-line dining and shopping outlets, many of them outposts of well-known LA brands. The spa services, concierge services, public art and improved infrastructure will revolutionize the experience of international travelers as they enter and leave the US.

When complete, LAX will be able to welcome more next-generation jumbo jets like the A-380 than any other airport in the United States. That will help us secure more direct international routes to LA, and is a key part of our focus on China and the crucial international travel market.

It’s already starting. 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 A380 to Los Angeles beginning in December. This route brings to 8 the number of A380 lines into LAX, from Sydney, Melbourne, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Guangzhou, London and now Dubai. And this March British Airways announced that its first A-380 flight would be a direct route from London Heathrow Airport into LAX expected to start this fall.

Other recent successes in securing more new nonstop air service to LAX included direct flights from Berlin, Moscow’s Domodedovo, Uruapan and Culiacán in Mexico, and two additional direct routes from Latin America in 2012. Over the past three years, we have successfully secured a range of new international routes to LAX, including Turkey, Rome, Madrid and more flights to Beijing and Shanghai, Dubai and Haneda. Every additional non-stop international route into LAX brings $625 million in additional visitor spending to LA.

Los Angeles is one of the top destinations for international travelers in the United States. In addition to our sites and attractions, our endless entertainment, our exploding culinary scene, and our world class arts and culture offerings, many international travelers are drawn to LA because it is a global, diverse, international city. There are more than 90 languages spoken in LA, and our exciting and interesting ethnic neighborhoods include Thai Town, Little Armenia, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Korea Town, Philippino Town, Little Persia, and many more. They are bursting with unique restaurants, shops and cultural features. LA has become a vibrant international metropolis that we can all be proud of.

These are just a few of the many reasons to be optimistic about the growth of LA’s tourism industry. Working together, we will continue to achieve even greater goals. As always, LA Tourism 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

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