The Power of Tourism - Ernest (Ernie) Wooden, Jr., LATCB

On October 19 at the California Club, the Power of Tourism was brought to Rotary LA5 from Ernest (Ernie) Wooden, Jr., President & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB).

LATCB is the member-based non-profit, organization with 1,100 hospitality businesses, including hotels, attractions, museums, and tour services comprising, servicing and benefitting from L.A.’s hospitality industry. LATCB’s mission simply is to inspire travelers to choose Los Angeles for a vacation, meeting or convention, and in turn, advance the city’s economic prosperity.

And so it does. Mr. Wooden, who has been at LATCB’s helm since 2013, has helped guide LATCB to market and promote LA County then attracting 42 million visitors who spent $18 billion. Today LA hosted 48.5 million visitors – and on the way to 50 million by 2020 (if not sooner) - who would spend $25 billion countywide. This spending generates nearly $3 billion in state and local tax revenues and importantly the equivalent of $837 of tax per each LA County household they don’t have to pay for the same services or that support services that might be cut if it was not for these visitor generated taxes. Further Mr. Wooden pointed out that visitor activity and spending supports 1 in 8.5 jobs countywide and added nearly 14,000 new jobs in 2017.

Part of LA’s recent success has been its welcoming attitude to all visitors. Mr. Wooden shared a video created by LATCB called Paper Airplanes featuring visitors and residents from all over the world engaged in L A activities and venues with smiles and open arms.

Related to tourism is the dynamic sports sector. LATCB is the managing entity for the LA Sports and Entertainment Commission which works to attract major events to Los Angeles. The county will host one major professional or collegiate sports event here over the next ten years. These include the 2020 Major League Baseball All-Star game, the 2022 Super Bowl, the 2023 College Football Playoff Championship, the 2026 Soccer World Cup and culminating in 2028 with the World Olympic Games.

As we heard, tourism plays a big part in the economic life of Los Angeles raising the quality of life for all who live here.