John LaFortune

President & CEO, Team San Jose


Tourism and Hospitality Columnist

Columns contributed fourth Monday of every month

John LaFortune is the president & CEO of Team San Jose and oversees all facets of business at the economic development organization.

He leads Visit San Jose, the official destination marketing organization for the city and the surrounding Silicon Valley region. In addition, LaFortune heads up venue management strategies for the city-owned San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the collection of performing arts and cultural facilities known as the San Jose Theaters.

LaFortune previously served as the COO of Team San Jose and has over 30 years of hospitality experience, 25 of them with Hilton properties across the country. Before working in San Jose, LaFortune was the VP of operations at Highgate, overseeing the company’s diverse hotel brand portfolio in California and Hawaii. LaFortune holds a B.A. from Chico State University in Sociology and Business.

Originally from Anaheim, LaFortune spent his latest and longest hotel tenures in San Francisco and, together with his wife, has raised his now adult children in the Bay Area for over 20 years. LaFortune is an avid baseball fan and has a personal goal of visiting all MLB ballparks in the nation.

LaFortune: Who manages San Jose’s theaters?

Recently, San Jose Theaters received a letter from a patron of the California Theatre. It wasn’t a fan letter. As a matter of fact, it was a letter questioning Team San Jose—the venue management company for the theaters and the agency responsible for marketing San Jose—and seeking to ensure the organization wasn’t taking advantage of...

LaFortune: Why we need to invest in San Jose tourism

Tourism matters. In the U.S. last year, travel accounted for $1.2 trillion in direct spending which produced an economic footprint of $2.6 trillion. This travel supported nearly 15 million workers and directly employed 8 million people. In California, travel spending grew to $134.4 billion, and the California travel industry supported more than 1 million jobs....