Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a series of initiatives this week to help the tourism sector recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.
Joined by hotel managers and leaders from the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board, and the L.A. Tourism Marketing District, the Mayor hosted a roundtable discussion yesterday to highlight the City’s efforts to bring back jobs, visitors, and growth to the local hospitality industry. Key steps include $5 million to support a national marketing campaign; the creation of a Los Angeles Tourism Cabinet; and federal advocacy efforts to call for more funding for tourism and guidelines for international visitation.
“Tourism and hospitality were decimated by the pandemic — and if we want L.A.’s economy to speed into a lasting recovery, we need to get this industry back on its feet, workers back on the job, and visitors back in the doors of our hotels, businesses, and key attractions,” said Mayor Garcetti.
“Our City is a global destination, and as more people get vaccinated and more spaces reopen, we will do everything possible to revitalize this sector and welcome people from across the country and around the world to Los Angeles once again.”
Early in the pandemic, with public health protocols forcing hotels and other businesses across the city to temporarily shut down, employment in the local hospitality and leisure space fell by 46% — and one-third of all jobs lost in L.A. County since last February have been in this sector.
With vaccinations pointing the way toward the end of this crisis, the Mayor laid out a series of steps to reignite the tourism industry, a critical source of hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs, lasting careers, and economic activity.
The Mayor announced a $5 million investment in the Tourism & Convention Board’s Comeback Story marketing campaign to attract visitors to Los Angeles. Drawn from the American Rescue Plan, this funding will enable Los Angeles to be one of the only destinations in the country to launch a national advertising effort to inspire people to come to L.A. This investment is projected to generate over $12 million in additional hotel taxes to the City coffers.
“We are thankful for Mayor Garcetti’s leadership and ongoing support of our local travel and tourism community, and we are excited to have the opportunity to promote what makes L.A. one of the world’s premier destinations to the entire country,” said Adam Burke, President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.
“Historically, media campaigns promoting Los Angeles have generated a return on investment of greater than 50:1. With the City’s $5 million investment, we will be able to launch L.A.’s first-ever national advertising effort, and we are confident that our recently launched Comeback Story campaign will yield incredible returns and drive economic recovery for our local business community.”
“As we start to see promising signs of recovery, it is now critical that the leisure and hospitality industry gets the help and push it needs to hire back staff and bring back visitors,” said Heather Rozman, Executive Director, Hotel Association of Los Angeles.
“Hotels, restaurants, and attractions have been preparing for this moment, and have taken critical steps to ensure their spaces are safe for guests from around the world.”
Beyond these advertising efforts, the Mayor announced the formation of a Los Angeles Tourism Cabinet, an interdepartmental forum comprised of L.A. City department general managers that have an important role in the development of destination management policy. This group will be tasked with developing strategies to maintain L.A.’s position as a leading destination for global travel; identifying a path for sustainable growth of tourism; and ensuring that it delivers benefits to the community and improves the quality of life for Angelenos.
Doane Liu, Executive Director of the Department of Convention and Tourism Development, will chair the cabinet, charged with implementing the City’s first Tourism Master Plan.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the Mayor and the Tourism Cabinet to look at what infrastructure is required to handle the large increase in visitation expected in the upcoming years,” said Doane Liu.
“The outlook for tourism’s future in Los Angeles is extraordinary, and there is so much opportunity to improve the experience for both our residents and our visitors by building relationships between the public and private sectors.”
Rounding out today’s meeting, Mayor Garcetti discussed plans to share recommendations with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo about how to restore consumer confidence and drive travel demand. He will also ask that Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant funding be allowed to support advertising and promotional campaigns for tourist destinations, and request that the Administration set a timeline and guidelines for reopening U.S. borders to international visitors.
“As a hotel general manager, I know first-hand how important these initiatives will be in building consumer confidence and bringing people back to Los Angeles,” said Javier Cano, Vice President & General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles & JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE and Board Chair, Tourism Marketing District.
“As we turn our attention to our collective recovery, the hotel industry is ready to get Angelenos back to work and the economy back on track.”