Mr Adam Burke serves as President & CEO of LA Tourism & Convention Board (Los Angeles Tourism), overseeing global brand marketing and sales strategies for one of the world’s most diverse and innovative destinations. He first joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer in 2016. Mr Burke is responsible for achieving the organization’s mission to “improve the quality of life for all Angelenos through the economic benefits of tourism.” Los Angeles Tourism is a Member-based, non-profit organization, proudly representing over 1,000 local businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector.
Mr Burke is here with Dope News to talk about the opening up of travel and the initiatives taken by LA tourism to attract more tourists.
What are the Global Tourism Initiatives that have been taken by LA Tourism?
When asked about the global initiatives that are in plan to increase the tourism rate in LA, Mr Burke had some great pointers to share. He said, “Los Angeles is one of the world’s most inclusive destinations with a long history of welcoming diverse visitors from around the world. It’s simply impossible to overstate how critical international visitation is to our City of Angels. In 2019 alone, we welcomed over 7.4 million international visitors who injected $11.6 billion in visitor spending to our local economy. And while this vital audience represents 1 in 4 overnight guests to Los Angeles, they generate 50% of all overnight visitor spending.”
“Demonstrating our long-term commitment to the international market, for over 20 years, we’ve been the only destination in the United States to have our own dedicated, full-time offices and team members overseas. As part of our future growth strategy, we were honoured to become the first U.S. DMO to open a full-time office in Mumbai, recognizing that India is well on the way to becoming one of the world’s top markets for both inbound and outbound travel over the next decade.” He added.
Speaking about the relationship shared with India for tourism dependency, he said, “Growing relationships with India’s travel trade has been of the utmost importance to us for many years, and never more so than during the pandemic, as we’ve worked hard to serve as a trusted source of up-to-date information regarding health & safety, and the status of L.A.’s tourism sector – which I’m thrilled to say has been fully open since June.”
Not only this, LA tourism is planning to launch a cinema campaign and Mr Burke shared some insights on the same when speaking to the Dope. He said, “Our new comeback campaign highlights the love of cinema that is such a shared passion between Hollywood and Bollywood. As the entertainment capital of the world, our passion for film runs so deep that you can say Los Angeles is a movie. And while our richly diverse cast of characters, iconic landscapes and cutting-edge fashions lend themselves to any genre, what we’re all celebrating today is a Comeback Story.”
What is the tourism industry in LA doing to support the SMMEs?
According to Mr Burke, LA tourism has been constantly working with SMMEs and is planning on to support them at any cost. Here is what he had to say about it, “We are exceedingly grateful for our collaboration with India’s SMMEs during this challenging time of disruption for our industry. The support of these highly valued partners has been – and will continue to be – critical to the recovery of travel to Los Angeles.”
“In India, our team has actively engaged local trade through a multitude of activities including the L.A. Insider online training program which provides the travel trade with everything they need to know to plan an L.A. vacation for their clients, including the most current information on our constantly evolving product offerings, including new state-of-the-art sports & entertainment venues, ground-breaking arts & cultural institutions, innovative, eclectic restaurants, and an assortment of new hotels. Our team also kept this audience informed with our regular travel trade e-news program and introduced a dedicated travel trade Facebook page to provide information tailored exclusively for the trade. We are looking forward to reconnecting with our key trade partners from India in person in 2022.”, he added.
What are the Global Travel industry trends that have helped the market recover and what are their implications for the traveller?
Discussing the industry trends and implementations on travel, Mr Burke touched some key points. He said, “As destinations drop their travel restrictions and welcome back international visitors, the recovery of tourism and safety go hand in hand. In L.A. we follow data closely and research indicates that visitors are much more likely to choose travel destinations where they are confident in the safety measures in place.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we are proud that L.A. has proved to be a community where the health of both residents and visitors has indeed been the top priority. California currently has the lowest COVID transmission rate of any state in the U.S., and we have proactive protocols in place. Here in L.A., masking is required indoors and since – beginning November 8th – fully vaccinated visitors from around the world will be able to visit the United States with a negative COVID test taken with 72 hours of arrival, we’re ready to roll out the red carpet for our valued Indian guests.”, he added.
LA tourism in the rush of opening up to travel has not neglected the safety protocols. Here is what he had to say about it. “Of particular importance to our travel trade partners, we’ve worked closely with our public health officials to ensure that safety protocols are not only highly effective but that they can be seamlessly delivered so that guests can comfortably enjoy all that our City of Angels has to offer.”
What are the focus areas for LA?
Mr Burke opened up to the Dope News talking about the future plans and areas of focus for LA in order to revive tourism. Excited about it, he says, “As our tourism industry makes its comeback, we know a balance of both leisure and business travel is of the utmost importance for our recovery. Professional meetings and events have officially started their comeback in Los Angeles. That’s absolutely critical since, in 2019 alone, this sector generated almost $24 billion in business sales to L.A.’s business community. And we celebrated a comeback milestone earlier this month, hosting our first City Wide convention since the start of the pandemic, welcoming more than 2,800 attendees for the American Academy of Otolaryngology at its Annual Meeting and Expo. Something that many people don’t know – but that should give meeting planners and event participants a great deal of confidence – it that the L.A. Convention Center is regularly used for film and television production, meaning that they’ve been continuously and safely operating for well over a year now, so we’re fully prepared for the return of professional meetings and events.”
How significant is the Indian market? Will there be a change in strategy for MICE marketing post-COVID-19?
Keeping India in a huge focus, LA will be working on growing the MICE business. Adding to this he said, “As I mentioned earlier, India represents one of the fastest-growing markets to Los Angeles. In 2019 alone, 135,000 Indian guests spent over $300 million in our local economy. Our optimism for the Indian market remains very high and we are fully committed to building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our partners in the Indian travel trade.”
“Based on feedback from event planners and participants, we know that L.A. is the perfect location for MICE business. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year and a plethora of world-class venues, there is ample space in our destination for both indoor and outdoor events.”, he added.
LA also is planning to remain committed to being the safest destination for the next events. On this, he said, “Current guidelines do not restrict capacities or require social distancing. Participants simply need to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of the event for meetings with 1,000 or more attendees indoors or 10,000 or more outdoors. In addition, proof of full vaccination will be required for a variety of indoor venues including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.”