The Los Angeles Tourism Convention Board has announced that the destination is celebrating a record milestone of 50 million visitors in 2018 – an ambitious goal that has been achieved two years early.
The new record is 1.5 million visitors higher than the 2017 total – a 3.1 per cent increase and the eighth consecutive year of tourism growth for LA.
City leaders and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board president and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr made the announcement using a hologram created by LA-based VNTANA, the leading provider of premium mixed-reality experiences, at a special gathering of LA’s tourism and hospitality community. Global sports icon, career Laker superstar Kobe Bryant, shared a congratulatory message via the hologram and proclaimed LA as the sports capital of the world.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said: “Los Angeles is a place where everyone is welcome, and tourism strengthens our diversity, grows our economy, and supports good-paying jobs for families across our city. Surpassing 50 million annual visitors two years ahead of schedule is the latest milestone in our ongoing work to bring Los Angeles to the world, and the world to Los Angeles.”
In surpassing 50 million total visitors, Los Angeles has set new tourism records for domestic and international visitation, hosting an estimated 42.5 million domestic visitors (three per cent increase) and 7.5 million international visitors (3.6 per cent increase). The UK remains LA’s fifth overseas market with a record 382,000 visitors in 2018, an increase of three per cent.
After a slight decrease in 2017, visitation from Mexico in 2018 scored its highest total ever with 1.8 million visitors, a four per cent increase. China recorded an all-time high 1.2 million visitors, making Los Angeles the number one ranked US city for Chinese travellers (6.9 per cent increase, the largest net gain among all international markets).
Other international markets recording their highest visitation totals ever in 2018 include: Canada with 780,000 (4.5 per cent increase); UK with 382,000 (three per cent increase); Japan with 349,000 (2.5 per cent increase); Scandinavia with 190,000 (3.9 per cent increase); and India with 130,000 (5.1 per cent increase).
“The 50 million milestone was set in 2013 as a north star goal for the tourism industry, but our unwavering focus on its significant community impact and tangible economic benefits seamlessly transformed it into a civic rallying cry for all of Los Angeles,” said Wooden Jr. “Thank you to our city leadership and hospitality partners for their endless support and ongoing investments that have cemented tourism in LA as a powerful driver of economic growth.”
LA’s tourism growth can be attributed to several factors including a 3.6 per cent increase in international seat capacity at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); nearly 2,000 new rooms added to the destination’s hotel inventory; LA’s growing reputation as a hot culinary and cultural destination; as well as LA Tourism’s latest global campaign, “LA Loves”, which extended and amplified a message of welcome and hospitality following the acclaimed “Everyone is Welcome” initiative.
Last year, tourism supported an average of more than 547,000 jobs in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, one of the largest in LA county. Of the 11 major super sectors in the county, the Leisure and Hospitality sector in 2018 generated the largest year-over-year increase in new jobs with 22,996 (4.4 per cent increase).
A record 30.1 million hotel room nights (room demand) were sold countywide, a 2.4 per cent increase. Estimates show visitors are expected to generate at least $288 million in transient occupancy tax.