Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office Wednesday outlined steps to help the local tourism industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, including a $5 million investment in the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board’s “Comeback Story” national marketing campaign to bring travelers back to Los Angeles.
The mayor also announced the establishment of a Los Angeles Tourism Cabinet, as well as federal advocacy efforts calling 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,” Garcetti said.
The mayor hosted a roundtable discussion on the topic Tuesday with 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.
According to the mayor’s office, employment in the local hospitality and leisure sector fell by 46% when public health guidelines forced hotels and other tourism-related businesses to shut down. A third of all L.A. County jobs lost since February 2020 were in that sector.
“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,” Garcetti said.
The funding for the Tourism and Convention Board’s marketing campaign will be provided through the American Rescue Plan’s $1.3 billion allocation to Los Angeles. Garcetti’s office said L.A. will be the first U.S. city to launch a national advertising effort to attract travelers. The $5 million investment is expected to generate more than $12 million in hotel tax revenue for Los Angeles, according to city officials.
“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 of the 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.”
The Los Angeles Tourism Cabinet will consist of general managers of L.A. city departments that play a role in the development of destination management policy, the mayor’s office said. The cabinet will be responsible for developing strategies to ensure that L.A. keeps its position as a leading destination for international travel, as well as identifying a path toward sustainable tourism growth that benefits the community.
The cabin will be chaired by Doane Liu, executive director of the Department of Convention and Tourism Development, who said he was “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.”
“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,” he said.
Garcetti said he plans to speak with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo about his recommendations to restore consumer confidence and increase demand for travel. He also plans to ask the Economic Development Administration to allow federal grant funding to be used on advertising and promotional campaigns for tourist destinations.