Words from Wooden – June 2014

President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr., LATCB

As the summer travel season heats up, I am proud to share some significant positive news for Los Angeles’ tourism community, as well as continuing high levels of hotel occupancy, new tools and resources for visitors, new hotel openings, and more. 

We saw a huge positive development with the City Council’s approval of nearly $10 million in immediate capital improvements to the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), as well as approval to move forward with “Plan B,” the overall expansion and modernization of LACC parallel to AEG's "Plan A" to build an NFL football stadium and modernize the LACC.

As you have probably heard me say, expanding and “futurizing” the Convention Center is one of the most crucial components of growing tourism and reaching our north star goal of welcoming 50 million visitors to Los Angeles by 2020. The Convention Center is a critical component of our tourism infrastructure, and these improvements will help L.A. stay competitive and secure conventions of all sizes that fill our hotels, restaurants and attractions. Read more about the planned Convention Center improvements in the News & Notes section.

L.A.’s record visitation continues to benefit our hotels, with a County-wide occupancy rate of 80.4% in April, up 3.9% over April 2013. March and April 2014 were the first non-summer months on record to reach higher than 80% occupancy. L.A.’s year-to-date occupancy rate in April reached 78%, up 4.6% from the same period last year, and the year-to-date total room nights sold reached 9.09 million in April, 5.2% higher than the same period last year. Read more in the Lodging Metrics section of the newsletter.

Air service to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has also grown significantly, with more to come. Passenger traffic at LAX in April grew 8.5% over April 2013, and several new air routes coming online in 2014 promise to grow visitation even further. In 2014, LAX expects a record-breaking growth in international air service to Los Angeles, gaining eight new international routes to date, as well as eight upgrades of aircraft or expansions on existing international routes. The ongoing upgrades to nearly all LAX terminals will help grow both domestic and international service, all of which translates to more visitation to our destination.

This month, I am also pleased to announce the launch of LATCB’s new mobile version of our award-winning website to help visitors create their perfect L.A. story. The mobile site offers visitors the ability to easily access LATCB’s online resources with a smartphone and keep them engaged with LATCB members and partners, both before traveling and while on the ground in L.A. At the same time, we are rolling out new visitor information kiosks in several locations that will allow visitors in Los Angeles to purchase ticket to events and attractions, offering even more opportunities for our members and partners. Read more about the mobile site and the kiosks in the News & Notes section.

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