Angelinos Not So Angelic To Los Angeles Tourists. Who's Getting It Right And Why We Should Follow Their Example

In a recent survey by Travel & Leisure Magazine, LA ranked dead last in friendliness.


Why should we care?   According to the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau Los Angeles hosts roughly 20-25 million visitors in a year and tourism generates as much as $13.6 billion in gross revenue, $751 million in local and state taxes, and provides for 279,400 jobs (2000 statistics).

But hey, who needs that money?  We can always pass a few more tax increases, triple fees and sell a few risky bonds to make up the difference right?

Another LA writer mentions that locals seem to agree:

America's Favorite Cities by Travel Leisure Magazine Reveals Surprises
Los Angeles' Rankings Show that Not All that Glitters is, By Sylvia Cochran, published Sep 12, 2008

It is interesting to compare the visitors' ratings to the residents' take on our fair city. … In a disturbing twist, residents agree with visitors that friendliness and intelligence are not the strong points of Angelenos, prompting me to wonder just exactly whom they surveyed here?

I must say that I am one of those locals.  There seems to be a definite trend towards 'unfriendliness' shall we say politely?  People in SUV's seem especially grumpy on the roads lately.  Yesterday I wanted to do an article about a restaurant that's undergone an amazing makeover and improved the whole look of the neighborhood.  When I called to chat with the owner the woman who answered the phone hung up on me because I only spoke English.  A gas station refuses to help a customer who needs to call AAA.

What the hell is going on here? 

Do we really want to become the Paris of the USA?  Paris, who btw, has just upgraded Tourism Day into Tourism Week (5 to 14 July 2008).

I'm not going to quote Rodney King in this article, but I am going to tell us why we should have seen it coming.  I'm not talking about politics or the events of That Day but our reaction to him since then.  In 1992 after three days of anarchy, 37 known dead and the city smoldering around him, Mr. King stood there heartbroken and trembling, trying to keep it together long enough to speak.  Everyone was looking at him and some to him, and he was just a regular guy hoping that somehow his words could bring a bit of peace to this messed up city. I just watched the video of him and it made me cry (again).  The point I'm making is those words came straight out of his soul and what did the City of the Angels do?  We turned it into a punchline.  I just heard it again the other day and it irks me to no end.  What was so side-splitting hilarious about that remark?  Why is that funny?  It's not funny.   It's a symptom.

Now, I wouldn't want to step on anyone's Self Esteem, Sense of Entitlement or Gas Price Rage, but perhaps we could all use a little review in Common Courtesy.  Could we get it together please?

Perhaps Los Angeles should follow Anaheim's lead and provide Tourism Etiquette for LA.  According to the LA Times: The city [of Anaheim] agreed last week to spend $90,000 on tourist-friendly training for police, emergency workers, cab drivers, hotel workers and others in the city's Resort District, which includes Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney.

Or, perhaps we should do a Courtesy Campaign like Singapore did back in the early 1980's.
It taught workers to be friendly to tourists.  The Singapore Hotel Association got in on the act and gave out The National Courtesy Awards. What's our Hotel Association working on?

Wouldn't it be cool if we had a mayor who could rally big business and the entertainment industry into forming some sort of partnership to turn this blot on the city around?  And since he spends most of his time schmoozing anyway could a little of that time be for LA's benefit as well?

Oh, and let's hope we are able to be friendly enough to business to keep the Quantas stop here.  Quantas, Australia's largest carrier wants to be the first airline to bring the Airbus A380 to LAX on October 20, 2008.  They are threatening to move their giant planes full of vacationers to San Francisco because we make them park their planes in the boondocks. I found this in an Australian blog, god forbid we should talk about the elephant in the living room here in LA:

Qantas warns LAX on remote facilities for A380. Posted on: August 7th, 2008 by Martin Fellowes

Qantas Airways has issued a warning to officials at Los Angeles International Airport that it may move its US west coast destination for A380 service to San Francisco’s International Airport if it is forced to use remote stands for the arriving super-jumbo, requiring passengers to be transported to the terminal by buses rather than having direct access via connected jet-ways.

The piece also goes on to mention: Los Angeles is a popular destination for Australian tourists, but its airport has a reputation of having long arrival queues, poor facilities and unfriendly staff.

So, who's on this? Are we going to fix this problem?
Or are we just going to miss out on an opportunity to make things better?

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