Words from Wooden – May 2014

President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr., LATCB

This week is National Travel and Tourism Week, when cities and states nationwide celebrate the importance of the travel industry and acknowledge the contributions of people working in tourism. So there couldn't be a better moment to share the news that Los Angeles was named the world’s most powerful City brand, ahead of New York City, London, Paris and many other great international cities. The research study conducted by Saffron Brand Consultants in conjunction with U.K.-based The Guardian, looked at two main factors: a city’s Assets and Buzz about the city, defined as media coverage and social media engagement. This is a huge honor for all of Los Angeles, so I congratulate everyone who had a hand in making this crowning achievement possible for the destination.

This week it is also my privilege to share one of our benchmark metrics – our economic impact numbers for Los Angeles. The 2013 year-end report shows tremendous visitor spending, total economic benefit, job creation and tax revenue generation for Los Angeles, and that is a terrific reason to celebrate tourism in Los Angeles.

The record 42.2 million visitors to Los Angeles in 2013 spent $18.4 billion directly in our economy, a 5.5% increase over 2012, delivering a total economic impact of approximately $28.3 billion, 4.3% more than in in 2012. You can read the rest of the important figures in the News & Notes section.

Together, our LATCB members form the very heart of tourism in Los Angeles, and these impressive economic impact numbers, as well as Los Angeles’ third consecutive record-breaking year of visitation, are due in large part to your professionalism and commitment to providing the highest possible levels of service. Your pride in your work and in your city shows, and is a major part of creating the Los Angeles experience for visitors.

Most importantly, it is what keeps them coming back, and in today’s hyper-connected world of internet and social media, it keeps them sharing their L.A. stories with friends and family. I sincerely thank you for your efforts.

Throughout National Travel & Tourism Week, LATCB has activities planned to show appreciation for our tourism family, including special appreciation deliveries of lunch and snacks to L.A. area tourism businesses in partnership with Border Grill and Etchea Cafe & Bakery. While we won't be able to get to all of you, know that our message of thanks does go to each and every one of you.

We also have created a special web page with articles highlighting local veteran tourism industry professionals and legendary L.A. tourism venues, and we are encouraging the community to share tourism stories on Twitter and Instagram tagged with #LAstory, #traveleffect and @tourismLA. The page also features information to help L.A. residents find hotels, activities, dining and other visitor information for their visiting friends and relatives.

Meanwhile, L.A.’s reputation as a tourist destination continues to rise, and you can see it reflected in our continuing high levels of hotel occupancy. In March, Los Angeles ranked 9th among the Top 25 Markets with an Occupancy rate of 80.3%, up 5.3% over the same period last year. Read more in the Lodging Metrics Section.

I encourage all of our LATCB members to further engage with our tourism community and join us for our monthly Member Mixers. One great opportunity to network with a wide range of tourism and hospitality related business from the L.A. area is our monthly Member Mixers. Be sure to check the “What’s Coming” section of the newsletter for details on the next Mixer and to RSVP.

These are just a few of the many updates on LATCB and our industry we have for you this month. As always, LATCB will be here, working on behalf of all of our members and partners to keep the world coming to Los Angeles.
Best wishes,

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