ONSITE: Los Angeles Outlook from LA INC.

Los Angeles-Travel Agent sat down with William Karz, staff editor of media relations for LA Inc, the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, for an update on the area's upcoming attractions and promotions, as well as improvements to the county's mass transit system. Los Angeles is trying to break free of its image as solely a car culture destination. Look for Travel Agent to put the mass transit system to the test in a future article, when we try out the new system to see if it's truly tourist-friendly. Karz noted that 12 hotels have partnered with LA Inc. to create packages around the Tony Award-winning musical "Wicked," which returned to the Pantages Theatre this month for an engagement running through March 2008. Participating hotels include the Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills, Fairmont Miramar Hotel Santa Monica, Hilton Los Angeles Airport, Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, Mosaic Hotel in Beverly Hills, Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Sheraton Universal Hotel, Sofitel Los Angeles, Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel and Wilshire Grand Hotel.A new W Hotel is scheduled to open in 2009 across from the Pantages Theatre. The hotel will have 305 rooms and the property will include a private rooftop pool and gym, a signature restaurant, a 9,200-square-foot spa and a rooftop bar.On the attractions front, the Ray Charles Museum is preparing to open its doors for the first time in late 2007. The museum that chronicles the life of the late Ray Charles is scheduled to open in late 2007. The 18,000-square-foot museum will be on the site of Charles' recording studio and offices in South Los Angeles.

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