Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has set a goal of welcoming 50 million tourists a year by 2020, and the city is now looking for a consultant who can help address problems that might block the city from reaching that goal — traffic gridlock, a shortage of hotel rooms and stubborn homelessness near tourism sites, it was reported Tuesday.
The request for proposals comes as tourism officials worry that President Trump’s travel ban and the harsh rhetoric from the White House about immigrants may give international travelers the message that they aren’t welcome in the City of Angels, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The final value of the contract will depend on which consultant is chosen and how much that consultant requests. The city has already set aside $250,000 in its budget this year for the proposal, according to The Times.
Unlike a marketing plan, the proposed five-year tourism development plan is intended to come up with ideas to make Los Angeles capable of hosting more tourists, said Doane Liu, executive director of the Department of Convention and Tourism Development.
“We want to look at what does the city of Los Angeles need to do for its infrastructure and planning to handle more tourists,” he said, according to The Times.
By October, the city hopes to hire a private consultant to come up with plans for addressing current and upcoming challenges facing the city’s efforts to boost tourism, according to the city’s request for proposals. The challenges listed in the request include traffic gridlock, the need for sustainable growth, the need for more hotels near the downtown convention center and the persistent homeless population near tourism sites.
“The development plan should analyze whether steps can be taken proactively to improve the visitor*s experience while being sensitive to the crisis at hand,” the request for proposals says about the homeless problem. Proposals are due Aug. 24.
A recent count of the homeless population in the county found it has declined for the first time in several years, but the number of tents, vehicles and makeshift shelters has increased. Leron Gubler, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, noted that some visitors to Hollywood Boulevard are turned off by the sight of homeless people.