Gone are the days when tourists came to Hollywood to gawk at the stars on the Walk of Fame. The new hot attractions are reality TV locales. And Los Angeles—hurting for visitors, with hotel occupancy rates down 14%—welcomes the attention: “It’s a new element that we are seeing that we are able to tap into to promote the city,” a visitors bureau rep tells the Los Angeles Times.
“We wanted to get tattoos and we like the show,” says one Canadian tourist getting inked at the tattoo parlor where LA Ink is filmed. Though home addresses are obscured on TV, restaurants like Katsuya—where tourists sometimes spot Spencer and Heidi Pratt—are easily found, and bus tours make it even easier: “If it comes up in the tabloids, we show it,” says one tour operator.