Explaining Southern California's economy

Record number of tourists visit LA, again

Metro tour

Todd Johnson/KPCC

The space shuttle Endeavour, which went on display at the California Science Center in 2012, has quickly become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

42.2 million people visited Los Angeles last year - a two-percent increase over 2012. It’s the third year in a row the city has set a record for visitors, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, which released the numbers Monday.

“The continuing, record-breaking growth and strength of tourism in Los Angeles is a shining light for our economy, creating good-paying jobs for our families, benefiting local businesses, and generating significant revenue for the city that goes toward the important public services our city needs," said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement.

Most visitors, by far, came from elsewhere in the U.S. (36 million), but of the 6.2 million who visited from outside the country, most came from China. Last year saw a 21 percent increase in Chinese tourists compared to 2012. 

In May, the tourism board added an office in Shanghai. (It opened a Beijing office in 2006)

The space shuttle Endeavour, which went on display at the California Science Center in 2012, has quickly become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

“The Endeavour helped attract nearly 2.8 million guests to the California Science Center during 2013, its first full year on exhibit – including more than 21,000 visitors in a single day,” said California Science Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rudolph in a statement.

Tourism officials said a TV and digital advertising campaign which resumed in 2013 helped boost the number of visitors. Ads ran in San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Sacramento, Fresno, and New York City. 

Tourism pumped $16.5 billion in direct spending to the Los Angeles last year and generated $2.1 billion in total local and state tax revenue, according to the board.

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