Volunteers hold welcome signs for arriving LAX passengers

- As planes approached the runway Saturday at LAX, hundreds of volunteers on the ground were ready to welcome travelers into the city.

“There’s never been a more important time to spread the message to the world that Los Angeles welcomes visitors from everywhere,” said Jamie Foley with Discover Los Angeles.

In a synchronized greeting, volunteers held up signs spelling out “welcome” in four languages. Each sign corresponded with the language of the country from where the flight passing overhead originated.

Discover Los Angeles, the city’s marketing arm, is behind the friendly messaging. It’s a response to recent tourism research which predicts a big drop in international visitors.

“We are projected to see 800,000 less visitors over the next three years from our international markets and that primarily is because of a perceived anti-welcome sentiment,” Foley said.

Passengers on the planes captured video of the signs from the air. The tourism board said the message isn’t political, although politics is said to play a big part in why international visitors aren’t feeling welcome.

“It’s words like ban, travel ban and language around extreme vetting,” Foley said.

Although Los Angeles is expected to break last year’s record of 47 million visitors, officials said less travelers are booking future trips.

The greetings were filmed for a social media campaign with a hope that these human-powered sign will change minds about coming back to visit. The entire campaign with launch on Discover Los Angeles’ social media pages next week.

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