Candy Spelling Welcomes You to Los Angeles
By Candy Spelling
Candy Spelling’s estate
Everyone who has been slowed down on Sunset, cut off on Canon or blocked on Bedford by groups of tourists sometimes wishes there were less of them.
That is, everyone except for me since I found out the tourism industry is the top employer in Los Angeles.
Every hotel room, meal, tour van, rental car, theme-park admission, studio tour, movie ticket, gallon of gasoline, silly hat, T-shirt or digital-camera battery a tourist buys provides jobs for the people of our city.
According to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles had 25.6 million overnight visitors in 2008. That resulted in an estimated $15.1 billion in spending for 2008 (up from $14.2 billion in 2007).
I see a lot of these tourists in an up-close-and-personal way. On any given day—and summer is the prime time—tour buses drive by my house every few minutes. If my gates open for a gardener, a delivery van or a friend or family member’s visit, the buses, vans, limos and rental cars linger.
There is no bigger ego builder for me than if my coming or going—whether in my car, with a friend, walking the dog or just walking to the nearby park—coincides with the arrival or departure of a tour bus.
“Mrs. Spelling, is that you?” some people ask.
“Yes,” I say modestly. And, when I remember how desperately LA needs tourists, I say something like, “Thank you so much for visiting Los Angeles.”
If I hear people say, “Who is that?” or “Is that anyone?” I try to just keep smiling and go on my way. Those comments aren’t good for my ego.
My late husband used to sometimes step onto the tour buses if we arrived home at the same time as one of the vans appeared. “You guys built this house for us,” he’d say as he bounded aboard. “Thanks so much.”
We can all do Los Angeles a favor and invite someone to come and visit. We live in a great city. Have your friends and relatives take tours, visit our famous sights and enjoy. Maybe they’ll even make their way to my house while they’re here. It’s good for everyone.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JORDAN STRAUSS/WIREIMAGE.COM
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.