WORDS FROM WOODEN-NOVEMBER 2013
We were all saddened and upset by the senseless shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday, Nov. 1 that resulted in the tragic death of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez. A memorial honoring Agent Hernandez will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
Our LATCB Communication Team mobilized within minutes of our Digital Team picking up the incident on twitter feeds. Our immediate response included creating a statement in coordination with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), that was shared with our communication counterparts at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Brand USA, and the U.S. Travel Association. To view the statement click here.
We activated a toll-free phone number to provide stranded passengers with assistance in finding hotel accommodations if needed. The call center fielded 1,000 phone calls in the 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday afternoon. Thank you to the LAX hotel community for being so responsive.
All terminals at LAX are now back in operation and fully functioning. Airport security, the FBI, and local police authorities continue their investigation of the incident as well as any decisions regarding current operating procedures. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you apprised of any significant developments.
We commend the outstanding work that our city's police personnel, airport security, FBI, and TSA agents perform each and every day to keep our city's residents and visitors safe.
We did receive good news for tourism, as LA’s tourism and hospitality industry continued to grow strongly through the third quarter of 2013. We saw more record-high hotel occupancy rates driven by record numbers of visitors and LA’s ascendance as one of the world’s most desirable tourist destinations.
Occupancy rates at LA County hotels reached 82.3% during the July-September period. The year-to-date hotel occupancy rate in Los Angeles County reached 78.3% in September 2013, an increase of 1.8% over the same period in 2012, the fourth highest occupancy rate of the top 25 markets in the United States. In 2012, the full-year average occupancy rate for LA County was a record 75.4%, up 5.1% from 2011. There were 26.6 million room nights sold in LA County in 2012.
Driving it all was LA’s record-breaking 41.4 million total visitors in 2012. We expect 2013 will end with 42 million total visitors, and 43 million visitors in 2014. Los Angeles is on track to welcome 50 million visitors by 2020. The world wants to come to LA because it’s where dreams are made. And we’re here to welcome them.
More good news kept coming out of LAX, with the beautiful new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) beginning operations and a growing list of TBIT’s terrific shops and restaurants opening for business, including Fred Segal, Marmalade Café, Vanilla Bake Shop, Hollywood Reporter, and See’s Candies. More than a dozen others are close behind them.
LA also made major gains in new and expanded international air routes, hailing from Japan, China, Germany, France, Australia, the U.K., Dubai and Brazil - some of the top-spending traveling countries. With nine of 18 gates able to handle the largest next-generation A-380 jets, the most of any airport in the U.S., TBIT gives LA a powerful competitive advantage in gaining international routes, and will be an increasingly important part of growing tourism in LA.
As always, LATCB will be there, working on behalf of our members and partners, and making sure that the world keeps coming to LA.
With best wishes,
Ernest Wooden, Jr.
President and CEO
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board