Los Angeles tourism boss hails UK office and eyes visitor record

The chief executive of the Los Angeles tourist board has hailed the work of its London office as the destination eyes a potentially record-breaking year from the UK market.

Speaking as the city hosted the IPW conference, Discover Los Angeles boss Adam Burke credited the successful rebound of the market to the work of the office, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The UK market accounted for 310,000 visitors in 2023, and Burke said “expectations were closer to 375,000 to 400,000” in 2024. The pre-pandemic record of 380,000 was set in 2019.

Burke said: “Los Angeles didn’t stand still during the pandemic, stakeholders continued to invest and, as a result, there are many more demand drivers than there were in 2019.

“In much the same way, we took the decision to continue our overseas operations to ensure we were ready for the restart of travel and that decision and the work of (regional vice-president) Francine Sheridan and the team has really paid off.”

He added: “London is our longest-established office and we remain the only US destination to have our own office there. It is easy to be a good partner in good times, but they stayed connected with our partners in the trade and that has been a big part of our recovery.”

An increase in average length of stay following the pandemic has continued, Burke said, with each stay on average 1.4 nights longer than in 2019. He believes this is a reflection of a greater understanding of the breadth of attractions on offer in the city.

The luxury market remains “incredibly strong”, Burke added, but the tourist board is also working with partners to create itineraries for budget-conscious family and solo travellers squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis.

Marketing focuses include a year of arts and culture, in addition to the “decade of sport” which will include the NBA All-Star game and the football World Cup in 2026, the Superbowl in 2027 and the Olympic Games in 2028.

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