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BUSINESS
January 3, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
A former executive with Hilton Hotels Corp. has been named president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. Ernest Wooden Jr., a former executive vice president for global brand management at Hilton, was named by the board Thursday to replace Mark Liberman, who retired last year. Most recently, Wooden has worked in Southern California as a consultant to the hotel industry. Before that, he spent more than a decade in senior positions at Hilton. Wooden is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in management science from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. "We are very pleased to welcome someone with Ernie's depth of global hospitality branding and operations experience," said Tom Mullen, chairman of the tourism board.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2013 | By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times
USA Baby Care's website makes no attempt to hide why the company's clients travel to Southern California from China and Taiwan. It's to give birth to an American baby. "Congratulations! Arriving in the U.S. means you've already given your child a surefire ticket for winning the race," the site says in Chinese. "We guarantee that each baby can obtain a U.S. passport and related documents. " That passport is just the beginning of a journey that will lead some of the children back to the United States to take advantage of free public schools and low-interest student loans, as the website notes.
BUSINESS
November 22, 2012 | By Nadege Green
MIAMI - The billboard on Interstate 95, with its azure sea and sugar-colored sand, could have been an ad for any of the myriad tropical destinations hoping to woo travelers abroad. But the tag line might be surprising to some: "Haiti, Live the Experience. " The billboard, which was erected in August by the Haitian government, is the latest salvo in what the country's tourism officials and hospitality industry say is a battle to re-brand a country known more for political unrest and natural disasters than its historical landmarks and natural beauty.
WORLD
November 19, 2012 | By Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
YANGON, Myanmar - Barack Obama was riding in his motorcade, the first U.S. president to visit long-isolated Myanmar, when he suddenly ordered an unscheduled detour Monday. The Secret Service scrambled. Police raced ahead to clear crowded roads. Tourists were chased away. Soon Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were barefoot in the muggy afternoon. They hiked up a long set of marble stairs and took in the 325-foot-tall Shwedagon Pagoda, which is covered with gilt leaf and topped by a jewel-encrusted spire.
NEWS
November 2, 2012 | By Chris Erskine
Red double-decker tour buses have begun rolling again in New York and Circle Line boats have started plying the waterways as tourism took a few more baby steps toward normalization after the super storm Sandy, AP reports. The Empire State Building, Broadway theaters, the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum, and many stores, have reopened. But the wire service says city parks (including Central Park), the High Line and the Statue of Liberty remain closed pending damage assessment . . . . Enjoy nibbles from top chefs and specialty food companies at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, Nov. 14-18.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 2012 | By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times
Yi-Shen Chou has spent more than 30 years in the U.S., first as a motel operator and now as a Monterey Park retiree who enjoys line dancing and computer games. His family - a half-dozen brothers and sisters and numerous nieces and nephews - remains in Taiwan. Occasionally, Chou reunites with them on one side of the Pacific or the other, but for the most part, he is alone here. Chou, 71, may soon be able to see his relatives more often. Starting Thursday, Taiwanese citizens will no longer need a visa to visit the U.S., eliminating a cumbersome and expensive process that deterred some people from making the trip at a time when few Taiwanese are seeking to settle here permanently.
BUSINESS
October 11, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Mexico predicts record tourist visits this year. But it's not because of a surge in U.S. visitors. Don't get Mexico wrong. U.S. tourists still represent the lion's share of foreign visitors, and Mexico welcomes them and their green dollar bills. But Mexico is reaching out to visitors from countries such as Russia, Brazil, Peru and Colombia after fears of drug violence and the recession reduced U.S. visitor numbers. The effort seems to be paying off. Based on rising tourism numbers in the first half of the year, Mexican tourism officials predict the country will host 24.7 million foreign visitors in 2012, surpassing last year's record of 23.4 million.
NEWS
August 14, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Businesses in Britain experienced a "significant reduction" in the number of visitors compared with summer 2011, and not just in the capital, according to a British tourism trade organization survey taken after the 2012 Olympics in London. "As an industry we knew the Games would have a negative impact on international visitor numbers to London, but the impact on the rest of the U.K., combined with domestic visitors staying away, has been deeply disappointing," Rita Beckwith, chief executive of City Cruises, said in a statement about the survey.  The report by UKinbound released Monday found that during the Olympic Games -- July 27 to Aug. 12 -- 66% of the businesses surveyed said their reservations or number of visitors were significantly lower than this time last year; 22% responded that their figures were slightly lower.
WORLD
August 13, 2012 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
BILONA KALAN, India - Amit Jaiswal sits in the darkened dining room of his Tiger Treat Resorts in a glum mood. After pooling his family savings, taking out a large loan and checking with his astrologer for an auspicious name, he opened in December here on the main road to the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. The rather grandiose pillared white building has a gift shop selling key chains and curly toed leather shoes, and the 80-seat dining room serving breakfast, lunch and "deener" - double e's are good, his soothsayer said.
BUSINESS
August 2, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
After undergoing a $3.5-million makeover, the Ripley's Believe It or Not exhibit in Hollywood celebrated its reopening Thursday with a more family-friendly atmosphere. But the tourist attraction still has plenty of creepiness, said general manager Andrea Silverman. Gone are the torture chamber artifacts, she said. But visitors can still see shrunken heads, a 5,000-year-old mummified foot and a vampire killing kit, Silverman said. The attraction has also added dozens of Marilyn Monroe artifacts, including clothes and shoes.
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