Word by LATTE correspondent, Barry Matheson
For many tourists, no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a stroll through Beverly Hills hoping to spot a movie star or two.
The glamour precinct in LA County surrounded by the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood has long been the home of many famous actors, luxury hotels like the Beverly Wilshire and expensive shops that line ritzy Rodeo Drive.
“If you keep your eyes open, you can still see the stars eating in the restaurants or buying clothes in the shops,” says Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau.
Wagner is visiting Australia to promote her city and engage with travel partners. She hosted a dinner at Sydney’s upmarket O Bar and Dining Restaurant on the 47th floor of Australia Square, with guests treated to Crab and Caviar entrees – typical of Beverly Hills.
She admits things have been tough in tinsel town amid the COVID pandemic.
“Oh, we were annihilated just like everybody else, but we are now seeing the numbers coming back and I’m pleased to say that Australia is close to the number one international market for Beverly Hills,” she said.
Wagner told LATTE there is a lot going on in the town and boasts one of the best dining scenes in all of Southern California with close to fifty restaurants along Little Restaurant Row and fabulous eateries in the luxury hotels.
“We want to make sure people are fed well in Beverly Hills,” she added.
“Yes, Beverly Hills isn’t cheap, but when people come here one of the biggest takeaways is they know they can buy a $30,000 dress, or a eat meal in an expensive restaurant, or drive a super expensive car around the city, you can do that, but if you want a simple pizza, there are places that are really affordable too.”
Wagner’s Director, Leisure Sales Aleksandr Sigalus also pointed out that Beverly Hills is one of the safest towns in the United States with a strong police presence in place.
“The response time to any emergency is under two minutes,” he said.
Beverly Hills has come a long way from humble beginnings since it was formed in 1906.
“Back then it was a Mexican ranch with farmland growing Lima beans, they were looking for oil but found water and along came Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr and the rest is history,” noted Wagner.
“We want to make sure we stay top-of-mind when Aussies are thinking of booking a trip to the USA. If you’re coming for the glitz and glamour, we’ve got it,” added Wagner.
Pictured are Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau’s CEO Julie Wagner, and Director of Leisure Sales, Aleksadr Sigalus.