Words from Wooden – April 2014

President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr., LATCB

As the good news keeps coming about L.A.’s record-breaking tourism and the recognition of Los Angeles as a hot global tourist destination, there couldn’t be a better time to celebrate our industry.

That’s exactly what we’ll be doing during National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-10), when the tourism community, cities and states nationwide celebrate and champion the power of the travel industry.

LATCB has some special events planned to make sure the world knows how much Los Angeles values the tourism industry and to thank and recognize all those who work in the tourism industry for their daily contributions. There are more than 433,000 people working in the tourism and hospitality industry in Los Angeles County, and they are not mere numbers. Each one of them is a person who makes a difference. They greet and welcome our visitors from the U.S. and around the world, and their professionalism and dedication to service are a big part of creating the L.A. experience for visitors. Among other things, during National Travel and Tourism Week, we will be announcing our official economic impact numbers for Los Angeles, which demonstrate like nothing else the importance of our industry, and we will be promoting L.A.'s tourism industry throughout the week.

I recently made the case for supporting tourism to a smaller, but very important audience – the Obama Administration. I was honored to be among a delegation of nationwide travel industry leaders to meet with senior Administration officials at the White House to discuss the priorities of the travel and tourism industry in the United States and ways to promote tourism by improving customs and other border procedures that foreign visitors face when they visit the U.S.

Those international visitors need to see the very best that L.A. has to offer, and we are working to deliver that to Chinese visitors, our No. 1 overseas market. Our “NiHao China” program is designed to improve the visitor experience for Chinese visitors and grow China visitation. 

At least 150 LATCB members have started the program, including a wide range of businesses, from museums and hotels to shopping centers and tour operators. We are holding NiHao China training seminars every month through 2014, and I encourage all of our members to take advantage of this valuable resource available exclusively to LATCB members. Be sure to check the “What’s Coming” section of the newsletter for details on how to sign up, so your business can become “China ready.”

As part of the NiHao China program, we introduced the new shopL.A. discount book for Chinese visitors, filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of coupons for many of L.A.’s leading shopping destinations. The book and shopL.A. are meant to promote L.A. as a leading global shopping destination.

In addition to NiHao China, LATCB is only intensifying the focus on growing international visitation to Los Angeles. We recently opened our first tourism office in Brazil, a market with strong potential for visitation to Los Angeles, and moved from having representation in Australia to opening the LATCB Tourism Office, which will be headed by Craig Gibbons, LATCB’s Regional Director, Australia & New Zealand.

These are just a few of the many updates on LATCB and our industry that we’re sharing with you in this month’s newsletter.

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