Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Los Angeles to Drop Ballot Measure That Would Require Hotels to House Homeless

4 months ago

Los Angeles’ city council appeared this week to have reached a political compromise with the local hotel workers’s union about a controversial plan to mandate that hotels temporarily house the homeless.

At issue is a long-running dispute. Earlier this year, LA’s powerful hotel union, Unite Here Local 11, successfully pushed the city’s council to put an initiative on the ballot for voters in March 2024. One of the initiative’s most controversial proposals was to mandate that hotel operators take part in a city program to place the homeless in otherwise vacant hotel rooms temporarily.

Hotel operators would have to report daily on their vacancy rate and had to accept temporary housing vouchers to cover the cost of temporarily housing the homeless.

The idea sparked outraged LinkedIn commentary. But more importantly, the hotel industry’s array of lobbying organizations, including the American Hotel & Lobbying Association, led a campaign against the idea with a mix of editorials in publications like The Hill and appearances in news programs tied to a survey of locals opposing the effort that AHLA sponsored.

The Center For Union Facts ran a TV ad called “Hotel Hell.”

Hoteliers argued that the mandate was unfair.

Others were nervous about reports of hotels receiving damage when participating in the voluntary effort. LA’s boutique 294-room Mayfair Hotel claimed to suffer significant acts of vandalism and damage during six months of participation in a different effort, called Project Roomkey, which transformed whole properties into temporary shelters, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

As of Friday, a proposal that removed the homeless mandate was still two votes short of passage in the L.A. City Council, reported the Los Angeles Times, but political insiders said they were optimistic. The California Hotel & Lodging Association and the Hotel Association of Los Angeles supported the compromise, which they helped facilitate along with council member Traci Park, Council President Paul Krekorian, and others.

Unite Here Local 11 said it considered the deal a victory. The pact includes the City Council promising to okay a set of fresh regulations on hotel development that would tighten the standards for the approval process to link hotel creation with the parallel creation of residential housing construction. Other criteria include vetting whether there is enough demand to support the hotels and what side effects development may have on the local demand for childcare and other city services.

“We have said all along that our contract campaign has been about two things: housing for our members where they work and a living wage,” said Kurt Petersen, the union’s co-president, in a statement.

An L.A. Times report on the proposed political deal related to hotel and the homeless.

Tourism

U.S. Sees India Surge to its Second Top Traveler Market

4 months ago

India was the U.S.’ s second top market for travelers outside of North America between April and June, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office’s data released Monday. Over 500,000 Indian travelers came to the America in the those three months, up from 392,000 and 498,000 for the same period in 2022 and pre-pandemic 2019, respectively.

In the first six months of 2023, over 800, 000 Indian travelers came to the U.S., making it America’s second largest’s non-North American market after the UK this year.

Nearly 60% of Indian travelers came to the U.S. for vacation, business or a conference in the first six months of this year, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. On average, Indian travelers spent $3,500 per trip in the U.S. The states they visited the most were California, New York and Texas.

In 2023, the U.S. is expected to welcome 1.4 million Indian travelers, which is 97% of their pre-pandemic volume, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. It will be the U.S.’s sixth top source overseas market in 2023, after the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Brazil. In 2019, India was the U.S. eighth-largest market.

It’s notable is that India has recovered so quickly and is rising as top source market for the U.S. despite long visa wait times at U.S. embassies, which suggests inbound travel from the country has been heavily restrained.

While the number of visitor visa approvals for Indians has “outperformed” 2019 levels, they remain over 400 days on average, said U.S. Travel Association CEO and President Geoff Freeman at Skift Global Forum. In New Delhi, for example, an Indian national would have to wait 542 days for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy.

The visa wait times deter Indian travel into the U.S. “The message to that traveler is all but go away. This is anything but a welcoming environment,” said Freeman. 

U.S. destination marketing organizations have been investing in driving tourism from India. New York Tourism + Conventions, San Francisco Travel and Los Angeles Tourism have expanded their marketing efforts in India this year.

“We’ve invested heavily in India,” said NYC Tourism + Conventions CEO and President Fred Dixon at Skift Global Forum. “I was just there in January, we’ll be back again next January. We see a huge opportunity in the future from India. We’re excited about the airlift opportunities.”

Ideas

IDEAS: Los Angeles Tourism Launches Its Largest UK and Ireland Campaign

4 months ago

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism) has launched its largest ever consumer advertising campaign in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The ‘Now Playing’ campaign – which features advertising in Ireland and Manchester for the first time – will run through October and November, and will return in early 2024.

Credit: Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board

The campaign includes advertisements on television, which are supported by a range of out of home placements on buses, trams and billboards, along with a full social media campaign. The creative elements have been produced alongside creative agency, Imaginary Forces.

“This is LA Tourism’s biggest ever consumer advertising investment in the UK and Ireland, showing our continued support for these key markets. We are excited to bring our consumer advertising to Ireland and the Manchester area for the first time to target travelers in these important regions, complementing our long-standing trade and PR efforts. We expect the new creative will entice travelers to choose LA for studios and attractions, food, outdoors and wellness, sports, shopping, and arts and culture,” said Francine Sheridan, regional vice president, Europe and ME, LA Tourism.


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