There’s so much more to L.A. than endless sunshine and movie magic. Culturally rich and ever-evolving, Los Angeles has long been a popular destination for not only leisure travelers but also meeting attendees and conventioneers alike. As demand grows for revamped venues and immersive visitor experiences, Los Angeles finds itself in the midst of a destination transformation. From multi-million dollar venue renovations to improved city infrastructures and even more exciting entertainment options, the future has never looked so bright for the City of Angels.
Los Angeles welcomed a record 47.3 million visitors from around the world in 2016, continuing the trend as one of the most popular destinations in the United States. With a booming tourism industry and a convention center that hosts 350 events annually, hotel occupancy levels are at an all-time high. In order to meet the rising demand, hoteliers have opened the flood gates to a wave of new and exciting hotel developments throughout L.A. The boutique properties and high-end megaprojects will add another 5,000 hotel rooms to the city by 2019. The newest addition is the Intercontinental Downtown Los Angeles, an upscale world-class hotel that opened in June 2017. The Center boasts 889 luxury hotel rooms, along with cutting edge restaurants and a rooftop cocktail lounge with a 360-degree view of the city. Thanks to its tall spire, it is the tallest structure west of the Mississippi, adding to the rich cultural and economic revival of Downtown. Learn more about the hotels coming to Los Angeles here.
In recent years, Downtown Los Angeles has experienced a monumental surge in growth and development and is fast becoming one of the city’s key cultural hubs. “The continued evolution of Downtown L.A. as a reinvigorated destination is key in attracting new and returning business,” says Kathy McAdams, VP of Convention Sales at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. The addition of so many new hotels and residences in the downtown area has brought the neighborhood to life, unleashing a seemingly unlimited wave of creativity and innovation. Local breweries have sprung up in warehouse buildings; galleries open their doors for a monthly evening Art Crawl; celebrity chefs from all over the world are opening their first west coast locations--all of this combined with shopping and a burgeoning nightlife scene within walking distance of the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), which hosts a multitude of top-tier conventions and has proved to be one of the most progressive and successful event venues in the world.
In recent years, more and more corporate travelers have integrated both business and leisure into their professional trips. The newly dubbed “Bleisure” segment approaches business travel as a lifestyle experience and there’s no better place to mix work with pleasure than in The Entertainment Capital of the World, Los Angeles. As the second largest city in the United States, it’s no surprise that L.A. is home to a robust roster of world-class attractions, diverse cultural activities and a burgeoning restaurant scene. Meeting attendees can expect even more “only-in-L.A.” entertainment options in the near future. “As a destination we’ve always had unique venues and attractions,” says Bryan Churchill, VP of Hotel Sales at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “With the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016, Los Angeles is on the map even more so than before.” Churchill believes the economic impact of the attraction has been astounding as it saw over a million incremental visitors in the first 12 months. Other noteworthy additions include the tallest open-air observation deck in California OUE Skyspace LA and the much anticipated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opening in 2019. The recently reopened Angel's Flight Railway, the iconic funicular in Bunker Hill, also makes it easy for visitors to hop between other attractions like Grand Central Market and the Broad Museum.
As Los Angeles continues to grow and evolve, as does its fundamental facilities and systems. The LAX Modernization Program consists of more than 20 individual projects to improve the traveler experience and is projected to last through 2020. The architectural jewel of the LAX modernization program is the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) which is a destination unto itself. With $1.9 billion in completed improvements, TBIT has become a world-class terminal that offers passenger convenience, amenities and services, and further solidifies LA’s role as an international gateway. “Accessibility in and out of the airport is essential for meeting planners, and the LAX renovation is positioning Los Angeles to compete for convention business at a national level,” says McAdams.
Los Angeles is home to one of the country's best public transportation networks, offering rides to just about every corner of the Greater Los Angeles area. The city continues to make great strides in improving the Metro Rail system which is fast becoming a popular alternative to driving. Visitors and residents alike can now travel easily from Downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica beach thanks to the recent expansion of the Expo line. Additional improvements already underway will connect to LAX airport and other parts of the region. Ride- and bike-sharing services widely available throughout the city further enable visitors to explore L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods.