May 2013 News and Notes

LA Tourism launches Car Free LA itineraries, RIMS convention packs the Convention Center, National Travel & Tourism Week, Pow Wow Travel Conference, LGBT Media Tour in LA, and updates on recent industry news put a spotlight on a warm spring and sizzling summer for tourism and hospitality in LA.


LA Tourism made it easier than ever to discover all of LA without a car with the Car Free LA program. Car Free LA features a series of self-guided "car free" vacation itineraries that offer a new way to experience the hidden gems of LA’s diverse neighborhoods via foot, bike and Metro. Prefer a guide? The site also features LA Tourism member-guided car free tour options.

Whether it’s culture, coastal attractions, global cuisine, music or architecture, see it all car free. Themed itineraries will continue to be added over time. The program was announced during the kickoff of CicLAvia, the largest car-free bicycling event in the country. To learn more, visit

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RIMS - The Risk and Insurance Management Society, the professional association dedicated to advancing the practice of risk management, packed the LA Convention Center during its annual Conference and Exhibition April 21-24, 2013. Los Angeles was proud to welcome back the RIMS Conference, which was last at the Convention Center in 1983.

With approximately 9,000 attending, resulting in excess of 21,000 projected room nights, the RIMS Conference was the largest association convention at the Convention Center this year. This industry-leading event featured three days of world-class educational sessions, an inspiring keynote speaker, an energetic and resourceful Exhibit Hall and a Conference Finale with headline entertainment, including comedian Howie Mandell.

In a great demonstration of how convention events can give back to the community, about 100 RIMS attendees and exhibitors participated in the Risk & Insurance Management Society's Seventh Annual Community Service Day on Sunday, assembling story boards and puppet theaters for the Chatsworth based non-profit Child Care Resource Center.

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New Promotion to Boost New Zealand / LAX Travel

LA Tourism’s UK office recently ran a month-long online promotion with the UK's leading high-end supermarket, Waitrose. The promotion was aimed at creating awareness of LA's great offerings, including the extensive and varied food options, as well as highlight the daily service on Air New Zealand from London to LAX. Added exposure via Waitrose's newsletter, emailed to over 1.3 million customers and social media messages ensured that the LA message was far-reaching. A sweepstakes was offered for a lucky customer to win a trip to LA in May, flying with Air New Zealand and experiencing a walking food tour with LA Tourism member Melting Pot Food Tours.

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The first full week of May, the U.S. travel community celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach, to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies. Cities, states and travel businesses nationwide organize scores of events and celebrations to champion and promote the power of the travel industry during the week, first established by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1983. President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation to mark the designation at a ceremony in the White House.

The 2013 theme is “Travel Effect,” U.S. Travel Association’s new advocacy and awareness campaign.  Resources for supporting the week are available at the NTTW toolkit. It includes usable official logos and graphics, talking points and fact sheets, social media tips and more.

LA Tourism Membership Breakfast – May 7

LA Tourism is leading the way for National Travel & Tourism Week with a Membership Breakfast on Rally Day, Tuesday, May 7. We are inviting all LA Tourism members to join LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LA Tourism CEO & President Ernest Wooden, Jr. for breakfast on Tuesday, May 7 at 8 am at Center at the Cathedral in Downtown. The breakfast will give us a chance to show our appreciation for all of our members and the crucial role they play in supporting LA’s economy, and offer our members a valuable opportunity to learn about some of LA Tourism’s future plans.

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LA Tourism Launches International Microsites

LA Tourism recently launched four international microsites geared towards visitors looking for information in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. These microsites are designed to parallel the domestic branded site with localized messaging specific to each market. As we continue to increase our advertising reach internationally, these microsites will become extremely valuable portals in disseminating and showcasing Los Angeles product. Additional international sections that will be developed next fiscal year include German, French and Portuguese.

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LA Tourism will represent the destinations, hotels, attractions and venues that make Los Angeles unique in the world at the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow, coming up June 8-12, 2013 in Las Vegas.

During the event, LA Tourism will hold a press conference to make some important announcements about tourism and hospitality in LA on Tuesday, June 11. LA Tourism will have a large presence with several member hotels and attractions joining in the booth, and will also be participating in the Media Marketplace to promote the destination and LA Tourism members.

Pow Wow, the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S., brings 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 will meet under one roof to negotiate more than $3.5 billion in future travel to the United States. To learn more, visit

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LA Tourism hosted a four-day media tour in April for senior journalists from three national LGBT magazines and websites and one regional newspaper and website.

The magazines, Out, Passport and Instinct dominate the national LGBT media landscape. Metro Weekly is the leading LGBT newspaper in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Together these publications reach 1.4 million readers, and many more on their websites.

Thank you to the following LA Tourism members who hosted the group: The Luxe City Center Hotel; The Redbury Hotel; WP24 Restaurant; Rocksugar Pan-Asian Kitchen; Melting Pot Tours; Malibu Beach Inn; California Science Center; Craft & Folk Art Museum;  Getty Center; Getty Villa; Hammer Museum; MAK Center for Art & Architecture at the Schindler House; The Petersen Automotive Museum; Out & About Tours; and Bike & Hikes LA.

LA’s unique sites ensured a wonderful and lasting impression, evident in the dozens of social media posts the journalists already have made. Their print and online features about LA as a premier LGBT destination are expected in the coming months.

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PUP Program Brings Dogs to LAX to Help Weary Travelers Unwind – Passengers at LAX are now greeted by a new breed of furry Airport Volunteers — dogs! PUP, started as part of National Volunteer Week (April 21-27), aims to create a less stressful airport experience for travelers. Trained dogs with special handlers will roam through the gate areas on the departure level of each terminal and visit passengers awaiting flights. The service is provided by Therapy Dogs Inc., which has been spreading smiles and stress relief to people in hospitals, special needs centers, schools and nursing homes since 1990.

Congress Ends Flight Delays From Sequestration Budget - The flight delays that were caused by furloughs of air traffic controllers were ended by an emergency bill passed by Congress on Friday, April 25. The furloughs had been causing flight delays at airports across the country, including LAX since Sunday, April 21. The so-ca lled sequestration mandated 10% cuts to all Federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA reports that air traffic patterns in the US are back to normal. Air traffic safety was not affected. For live updates on flight arrival and departure times and delays, visit

City Council Moves to Re-Open Bid for Convention Center Privatization Contract – The City Council’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee on April 22 voted unanimously to re-open the bidding for companies to manage the LA Convention Center.

City Council Approves Plan to Move LAX Runway - The City Council on April 23 voted to approve a plan to move the north runway at LAX 260 feet to the north. The move is part of the overall airport modernization project and is designed to accommodate larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and allow the addition of a taxiway between the north and south runways.


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LA Tourism’s China Office recently organized a fact-finding mission to Beijing and Shanghai for LA Tourism executives, including President & CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr., Chief Marketing Officer Don Skeoch, and Vice President International Marketing, Kathy Smits. In addition to meetings with key in-market B2B and government stakeholders in two of China's top markets, the LA Tourism team also attended key events including COTTM (China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market) in Beijing and China International Meetings & Conferences Forum (IMCF) and ITCM China (Incentive Travel & Conventions, Meetings) in Shanghai, where they promoted LA as a leading international MICE destination and an "Endlessly Entertaining'' destination.  All activities reinforced LA’s position as the top U.S. gateway for Chinese travelers and LA Tourism’s plans to increase sales and marketing activities in China. LA Tourism CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr. also participated in Governor Brown’s Trade and Investment China Mission during the same period, which included meetings with top Chinese government and business leaders.