Darren K. Green, senior vice president of sales and services for L.A. Tourism, is feeling bullish on the future of meetings and conventions in Los Angeles. Here’s what he had to say in a recent chat with California Meetings + Events.
CAM+E: It’s great to hear that groups of all sizes can now meet in Los Angeles. Are large groups being cautious about gathering again, or are you seeing signs of a robust and quick recovery?
Green: June 15 marked a welcome milestone for our city and we are thrilled to see a rapid return to business with groups of many sizes returning to Los Angeles. Total visitation is poised to reach 80% of 2019 levels this year and we are expecting a full recovery by 2023.
While we may not have been the first destination to reopen, we are committed to being the safest and we are ready. Los Angeles Convention Center became one of the first convention centers on the west coast to receive the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR facility accreditation on cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention. In addition, LACC has already prepared a reimagined experience in anticipation of welcoming back attendees to the venue including new floor plans incorporating physical distancing, communication highlighting protocols and hand sanitizers in all public areas and more.
What are some of the larger group events, such as conventions, that couldn’t meet in 2020 or 2021 and have rebooked?
We have been able to rebook most of the business that was lost due to the pandemic. In fact, there are four citywide conventions on the books for the remainder of 2021. In October Los Angeles will welcome the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress, bringing 15,000 top technology leaders to our city.
Are you feeling optimistic about the future of group meetings in Los Angeles?
There’s so much to be optimistic about in Los Angeles. With more than 300 days of sunshine and an embarrassment of riches when it comes to outdoor and versatile venues ranging from studios and stadiums to world-class hotels and the beach, we have a location to host group meetings of all size.
Los Angeles is also fortunate to have a number of future projects planned that offer clients flexible open-air options that will elevate the attendee experience safely. Meanwhile, many of our infrastructure updates, including major upgrades to LAX, are currently running ahead of schedule as a result of sped up construction during the pandemic.
Many people still feel a bit of anxiety about large gatherings. What are some things LA is doing to address ongoing health concerns?
We understand these concerns and will always take the health and safety of all in our city very seriously. Los Angeles Tourism is the first Destination Marketing Organization to partner with CLEAR Health Pass, offering planners a turn-key solution that will enable them to verify attendees’ vaccine and testing status. We are offering priority access to this service for meeting planners and event organizers booking business to our city, allowing for seamless entry and eased concerns.
Is there anything else you’d like meeting planners to know about gathering in Los Angeles?
Our dedicated team is always here to answer any questions you may have about gathering in Los Angeles. You can learn more about our full reopening and what we are doing to keep our visitors comfortable and inspired at meetla.com.