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Revenue to come up roses

Out-of-town football fans and parade spectators are expected to bring region up to $400M in tourism dollars.

January 02, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

At Bob Hope Airport, which is outfitted with banners for the Rose Bowl and BCS Championship Game, the increase in travelers could help reverse slumping commercial passenger counts, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

Already, hundreds of passengers have reserved space for private aircraft, said Ron Reynolds, director of operations at Million Air, a fixed base operator at Bob Hope Airport.

The company expects to welcome 30 aircraft for the Rose Bowl and about 100 for the Bowl Championship Game.

Atlantic Aviation, which also leases space from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, anticipates 25 arrivals for the matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks and 175 for the clash of the Texas Longhorns and Alabama Crimson Tide, General Manager Steven Schell said.

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Many of the flights were scheduled to leave the morning after the game to abide a voluntary flight curfew of 10 p.m., Schell said.

“I think everybody wants to be good neighbors,” he said.

While the total number of visitors to the two games and New Year’s Day parade is uncertain, area hotel managers said guests began making reservations months ago.

Most of the 488 rooms at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center have been sold out for months, with a 5%-vacancy cushion provided by cancellations, Senior Sales Manager Elaine Gonzales said.

At the Holiday Inn Burbank-Media Center, managers said the hotel began taking reservations en masse in November. In a regular year, management typically scales down to a skeleton staff following New Year’s Day. But with the second game, it will be all hands on deck, they said.

In Glendale, the Hilton Los Angeles North and the Embassy Suites Los Angeles have been booked solid for weeks, managers said.

Kelly Halteman, director of sales and marketing for Embassy Suites, described the scene as “swamped beyond belief.”

The extra visitors come to Southern California during one of the year’s slowest months for taxicab companies, said Debbie Waters, operations manager at Tri-City Transportation System.

The company will have nearly 200 cabs on the road in the region and may pull an additional four to 20 temporary permits in Pasadena, she said.

“If I was driving today, I would go and do it myself,” said Martin Shatakhyan, general manager of G&S Transit, Tri-City and City Cab. “Now’s the time for them to catch up.”

UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2005 estimated $370 million in direct and indirect spending from the parade and game.

A 2008 USC Sports Business Institute study found that out-of-area fans generally stick around longer and spend more money than locals.

And there’s no telling what worldwide exposure might do for future tourism figures, Ackerman said.

“When you have good weather, there’s no better way to showcase Southern California,” he said.


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