#EveryoneIsWelcome; Discover L.A. Unveil Inspiring New Tourism Campaign

The current political climate in the USA has seen tourism in the country drop to a record low. ‘The Land of the Free’ seems to have become the very opposite, but in the face of hostility towards other cultures in the States, Discover L.A. has unveiled an inspiring campaign to position the city on the world stage as diverse, welcoming and inclusive.

This weekend, Discover Los Angeles, the city’s official destination marketing organization, unveiled the global initiative aimed at reinforcing the message to visitors that #everyoneiswelcome. The launch was celebrated with volunteers gathering at LAX to welcome planes in different languages as they landed in the international airport.

© Discover L.A.

© Discover L.A.

© Discover L.A.

The video, released on Discover Los Angeles’ social channels, uses a visual metaphor of paper planes, embodying patterns emblematic of countries around the world, which “fly” into Los Angeles. Set to the soundtrack of Los Angeles-local Father John Misty’s song, “Real Love Baby,” the film takes viewers on a journey through the streets and shores of Los Angeles, and features Layla Shaikely, creator of the #mipsterz (Muslim hipsters) trend; cameos of famed street art by Shepard Fairey; and Madonna’s choreographer Megan Lawson and dancer, Jo’Artis Ratti (Big Mijo). Half of the cast for the video are Angelenos who were plucked off the streets of L.A., in real-time.

Perhaps the most poignant part of the video was Layla Shaikely wearing the American flag as a hijab, further emphasising L.A.’s longstanding culture of diversity and inclusivity.

© Discover L.A.

Tourism Economics, an independent research partner, has predicted a potential three-year loss of 800,000 international visitors due to a perceived anti-welcome sentiment.  These visitors typically spend $920 each while in L.A., totalling a potential loss of $736 million in direct tourism spending.  This loss would be significant for local businesses and families employed by the hospitality industry, which is one of the largest and healthiest job sectors in L.A. County.

“Diversity and inclusivity have always been cornerstones of Los Angeles culture, but there has never been a more crucial time to reinforce these points,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., President and CEO for Discover Los Angeles. “As one of the planet’s most diverse metro areas with residents hailing from 140 countries who speak more than 224 different languages, Los Angeles is uniquely poised to launch such a campaign”

Last year, Los Angeles welcomed 47.3 million visitors in a sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism, however, Tourism Economics forecasts predicts a drop of up to 300,000 international visitors a year between now and 2019. Launching the #EveryoneIsWelcome campaign not only attracts international visitors, but it also makes those who reside in the U.S. feel safe and at home. Knowing that there is someone somewhere in your country who embraces diversity is key to the future of the United States.

Watch the #EveryoneIsWelcome video below and share if you believe in the initiative, too.

Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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