Aussies could be LA’s top overseas market in 2023, says LA Tourism CEO

Aussies could be LA’s top overseas market in 2023, says LA Tourism CEO

On Thursday, 1 December 2022, Los Angeles Tourism hosted 60 key industry partners and media for an afternoon cocktail party reception at CIRQ Rooftop, Crown Sydney.

Attending from Los Angeles Tourism was chief executive officer and president Adam Burke, chief marketing officer Don Skeoch, senior vice president of global tourism development, Kathy Smits, managing director for Asia Pacific, Craig Gibbons, and travel trade manager for Asia Pacific, Kathleen Brown.

With stunning views over Darling Harbour, guests were treated to canapes and cocktails inspired by the City of Angels before receiving an update on Los Angeles from Burke, including the progress of the city’s recovery post-pandemic and the latest numbers on Australia’s POE to LAX, with Australia the number one region in the Asia-Pacific.

The Burke also gave a comprehensive update on what travellers can expect from “LA 2.0”, such as:

  • The status of LAX’s US$14 billion Modernisation Program, including the fully operational West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal, and the much-anticipated 2024 completion of the Automated People Mover and direct train service from LAX to Downtown LA
  • Over the past two years, almost 5,000 new hotel rooms across LA have been added.
  • The impending launch of new attractions such as Universal Studios Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World and revamped Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood.
  • The upcoming (in 2023) 100th anniversary of the iconic Hollywood Sign

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Burke commented:

“One of the reasons we’re here in Australia is because we expect that in 2023, Australia will be our number one market in the Asia Pacific region. And it may well be our top overseas market in 2023. We now have roughly 44 nonstops a week from Australia to LA; by the end of the year, that’ll be closer to 70.

“We’ve seen a remarkable recovery in LA, and we’re incredibly fortunate. People don’t realise how much LA has changed even during the pandemic. We’ve been talking about it in terms of ‘LA 2.0’. Because if you haven’t been in a couple of years, you won’t believe how much new product there is across virtually every one of our product fillers.”

When asked how Aussies can best experience “LA 2.0”, Burke advised:

“Angelenos and Aussies share so much in common; there’s this incredible love of arts and culture, sports, food and drink, and obviously outdoors. So people feel very familiar with LA coming from Australia. (But) Los Angeles is not really a city; you have to consider it seven distinct regions, each with its unique flair.

“What we found is, particularly since the pandemic, people have a longer length of stay. Certainly, people want to experience the major attractions like Universal Studios, Hollywood, Sofi Stadium, and the academy Museum of motion pictures, but what we’re finding more and more is people want to do a deep dive into a specific neighbourhood. A great example is the Arts District, a neighbourhood five minutes outside downtown Los Angeles. It combines wonderful architecture, incredible concepts, beautiful street murals, amazing restaurants and boutique hotels. You can stay in the LA arts district for three days and never leave.”

In terms of sporting attractions, Burke said:

“Los Angeles now has 11 professional sports teams, that’s the most of any city in the US. What that means is we have multiple teams in a variety of sports. The latest addition, and it’s a wonderful story, is Angel City Football Club. Actor and activist Natalie Portman and tech entrepreneur Julie Uhrman started the Angel City Football Club. They built their whole business model around creating equity for women, not just in sports, but in every field of endeavour. Their ownership group is a veritable who’s who of Hollywood and sports icons. It’s incredible to see this powerful group of female sports and entertainment leaders come together to push for equity for women across all fields.”

And for travel trade resources to sell LA?

“I would say go to discoverlosangeles.com“, continued Burke.

“To make it easier, we’ve already curated a series of three-day itineraries. And it lets you search in two different ways. Number one, you can look by region. So if you want to be in a beach community, you can search that way. If you know you want to be in Hollywood, you can search that way. Or I’m interested in a culinary-themed trip; I’m interested in a sports-themed trip.

“We (also) have LA Insider, a training academy that allows people to become certified as LA insiders. And it’s a robust online platform where travel advisors can go through each module. And they essentially graduate from the Insider Academy and become certified as experts in the destination.”

In addition, Skeoch updated attendees on the recent launch of L.A. Tourism’s global marketing campaign; the city’s largest-ever media campaign worldwide, which invites travellers to discover what’s ‘Now Playing’ in the City of Angels.

Leading the campaign is a dynamic 30-second ad portraying a writer at work on an ever-changing screenplay. The ad follows a group of friends as they crisscross the city, visiting LA highlights such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Music Center and Venice Beach.

“‘Now Playing’ instantly evokes what’s unique about Los Angeles,” said Skeoch. “With this campaign, we’ve combined the vocabulary of the screenwriter and the visual language of cinema to capture what makes LA an unparalleled visitor destination creatively.”

True to Los Angeles’ identity, the ad also features top talent, giving the campaign an added touch of Hollywood magic. Stage, screen and TV veteran Jenifer Lewis, who recently starred as the comedic matriarch on ABC’s hit television show, “black-ish”, narrates both ads. Steve Aoki, Southern Californian DJ, record producer, executive and heir to the Benihana restaurant franchise, also lends his creative talents with a colourful performance.

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