Tourism officials from Santa Monica wrapped up their 2018 Sales Mission to Australia last week, with an event for trade partners held at Sydney’s Park Hyatt overlooking the Sydney Opera House on Thursday 15 November 2018.
The annual mission was led by Todd Mitsuhata, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism‘s Manager, Asia Pacific and Latin America. On his third mission Down Under, he said Australia was Santa Monica’s top international source market, ahead of the United Kingdom and Canada.
“Australia has been one of our top markets for a good number of years, which is testament to the great work the team here is doing,” Mitsuhata told LATTE at the event.
Just 13 kilometres north of Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica is only 21.5 square kilometres in size and consists of eight unique neighbourhoods: Pier/Ocean Avenue (where the iconic Santa Monica Pier is located), Downtown, Main Street, Wilshire, Ocean Park Boulevard, Pico Boulevard, Mid-City and Montana Avenue.
Mitsuhata said Santa Monica is the perfect base for out-of-towners, from where they can go out and explore greater Los Angeles. The city has more than 400 restaurants and operates four weekly farmer markets, so visitors have plenty of options to select from in terms of eating out. Further, the now two-year-old Metro Line light rail, just two blocks from Santa Monica Pier, offers convenient and reliable transport from the coastal city to downtown Los Angeles in 46 minutes. He said it beats the “unpredictability of LA traffic”.
“If you wanted to go to the Walt Disney Concert Hall or Universal Studios, depending on when you leave, the train is a very convenient and its fast.”
Australian travellers generally stay for three-to-four nights in Santa Monica, a longer length of stay than most other visitors from abroad, Mitsuhata said.
Santa Monica is home to 40 hotels and offers a diverse range of high-end accommodations, including properties from within the JW Marriott, Viceroy, Fairmont, Loews and Shangri-La chains, along with Shore Hotel, Shutters on the Beach and Hotel Casa Del Mar. The latter two both provide direct access to the iconic beach.
Next summer will see the opening of Santa Monica Proper Hotel on the corner of 7th and Wilshire Boulevard. The 271-room property is billed as a “seamless merger of historic retrofit and new construction”, and will feature a rooftop pool, three restaurants. Mitsuhata told LATTE it will be a “good new addition to Santa Monica”.
“I would say luxury in Santa Monica is more about the California lifestyle,” Mitsuhata said. “Visitors can take in the sites by hopping on the South Bay bike trail which runs through Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Canals and Manhattan Beach.”
Another popular local experience is a cooking school.
“We have a high-end luxury shopping mall called Santa Monica Place which is in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. Retailers include Nordstrum, Bloomingdale’s, Louis Vuitton, Coach, and then on the top there’s a cooking school that does hands-on, three-hour cooking classes. It caters for all different kinds of cuisine [and] kids, adults and groups. They also do a walkthrough of the farmers market to get some produce for a farm-to-table kind of cooking experience.”
“North of the downtown area is a street called Montana Avenue, which is a high-end and a more affluent residential area that has a lot of really high-end, boutique local shops. That’s a really nice local experience and that’s quite different from what is offered in Beverley Hills, where you are going to have the designer shops.
“Santa Monica has everything from the name-brands on the Promenade, to the luxury shops in Santa Monica Place mall and then the high-end boutiques on Montana Avenue.”
The delegation from Santa Monica also included representatives from Hotel Shangri-La and Shores Hotel. They were also supported by United Airlines.
Lead image: pictured at the event in Sydney from left are Dustin Hess, Director of Sales & Revenue Management, Hotel Shangri-La, Santa Monica; Gerry Peck, General Manager of Shore Hotel, Santa Monica; Todd Mitsuhata, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism – Manager, Asia Pacific & Latin America; with Belinda Condon and Tommy Lindblad from United Airlines.
For more information on Santa Monica, see www.santamonica.com