Los Angeles Unveils New Tourism Industry Plans

-Goal Set to Reach 50 Million Visitors by 2020; $44.5 Billion in Economic Impact
-Tourism Board Expands Reach in China with New Shanghai Tourism Office 

LOS ANGELES (May 7, 2013) – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and  Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism) President and CEO Ernest Wooden, Jr. today announced that Los Angeles has set a new goal to generate 50 million visitors by 2020.  Building on this new visitation goal, LA Tourism will expand its efforts in China, the destination’s fastest-growing overseas market and its new #1 overseas market as of last year when it surpassed Australia, by opening a new tourism office in Shanghai.

Los Angeles was the first U.S. destination to open an office in China, in Beijing in 2006, and remains the only city in the world to have a license from the China government to operate its own tourism office.  
LA Tourism estimates that an increase to 50 million in total visitation will generate an increase of $14 billion in economic impact for Los Angeles, for a total of $44.5 billion; bring in $238 million in hotel tax revenue to the City; and add 68,000 new jobs to the LA region’s workforce for a total of 392,000 jobs supported by the tourism industry in 2020.

Last year, the Los Angeles tourism industry broke every record in the book – total visitation, total domestic visitors, total international visitors, and annual hotel occupancy. The destination is on pace to set another total visitation record in 2013 of 42 million visitors. The announcement was made during a breakfast to celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week, an annual event established by Congress and President Ronald Reagan in 1983 to acknowledge and promote the power of the travel industry and recognize the people working in it.

“Today’s announcement is another reminder of the important role tourism plays in Los Angeles,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “Tourism spending supports 1 in 10 jobs in LA and those revenues go directly to the city services Angelenos rely on. China, in particular, continues to hold enormous potential that we need to be poised to capitalize on. Chinese visitors also spend more in Los Angeles than nearly all other international visitors, making their potential contributions to our economy vital. Shanghai has emerged as the largest and wealthiest city in China and having an office there will allow us to forge important new sales and marketing travel industry partnerships.”

 “After reaching a record 41.4 million visitors last year, we’re prepared to reach new heights and we’re now setting our sights on the 50 million visitors milestone,” Wooden said. “This increase in visitation will have a major impact on the well-being and vibrancy of our local economy. But the goal is not without its challenges. We need to attract more hotels to add approximately 5,200 rooms to be able to absorb the increased demand; expand and modernize our Convention Center to enhance our ability to attract larger conventions; continue our laser-focused destination sales and marketing activities to stay ahead of increased competition; and successfully mine the opportunities in China.”

The new total visitation and economic impact goals are also based on the destination’s efforts to attract more leisure visitors, meetings, conventions and incentive opportunities in key international markets, and its expanded global marketing efforts combined with new affinity marketing efforts. LA’s expanded presence in China allows for greater resources to work with the ever-growing travel industry in China and the five airlines that already have routes from China to LAX. LA is the only destination in the U.S. that is serviced by all three Chinese national airlines.

“Those who work in the tourism industry are our city’s ambassadors,” said Tom LaBonge, District 4 Councilmember and Chair of the City’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee. “Around the clock, they help those who come to Los Angeles have the greatest tourist experience they can. So I am pleased to salute them every day for the great work they do, whether they are driving a tour bus or working as a concierge at any one of our excellent hotels, or working at LAX. They all help make LA a great place to visit.”

Tourism supports 324,000 jobs and created 10,000 new jobs last year, more than any other industry in LA County. It employs our family members and neighbors, keeps our local businesses strong, and supports the city’s services. As we celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week, I applaud every tourism industry worker today who welcomes our visitors and inspires them to return.”

The record-breaking 41.4 million visitors to Los Angeles last year made LA one of the most-visited destinations in the U.S. Los Angeles captured 13.1 % of overseas visitors to the U.S., the second highest share in the country. LA Tourism expects to set another visitation record in 2012, with projected visitation exceeding 42 million. Tourism is a leading industry in Los Angeles, supporting 324,000 jobs, contributing more than $16.5 billion in direct spending, and yielding $30.5 billion in total economic impact.