Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. today announced Los Angeles welcomed 48.3 million visitors in 2017, setting a new tourism milestone for the seventh consecutive year. The record figure is 1.0 million visitors higher than 2016’s total, an increase of 2.2%, driven by an all-time high 41.2 million domestic visitors. International visitation overall grew 0.9% to a record 7.1 million visitors, outperforming both its projected forecast and inbound travel to the United States as a whole in 2017.
International markets recording significant gains for Los Angeles in 2017 include: China with 1.1 million visitors (6.0% increase); Canada with its highest visitor total ever at 747,000 (5.5% increase); South Korea with 315,000 visitors (6.3% increase, the largest gain among all markets); and India with 121,000 visitors (4.0% increase).
“We are powering Los Angeles’ economy to new heights every year, because we know that lasting prosperity means investing boldly in jobs, opportunity, and growth,” said Mayor “The expansion of our travel and tourism sector tells the story of a city whose moment has arrived — and we will continue pushing forward as we expand our role on the world stage, and prepare to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.”
A contributing factor to L.A.’s year-over-year increase in international visitation is the resonance of a message of welcome. In April 2017, L.A. Tourism launched an initiative called “Everyone is Welcome” which reinforced the city’s cultural diversity and inclusivity. A recent sentiment study conducted in Australia, the U.K., China and Mexico confirmed the campaign’s effectiveness with positive favorability from each market including a resounding impact on visitation likelihood from China (82%) and Mexico (69%).
“Our ‘Everyone is Welcome’ campaign was the right message at the right time; it was a message of humanity and encouraged people around the globe to see the diversity of L.A.’s faces and places,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “In 2018, we will extend and amplify our message of ‘Welcome’ and intertwine a message of hospitality, fueling even greater momentum towards our north star of 50 million visitors by the year 2020.”
Tourism is among the largest and healthiest contributors to the Los Angeles economy, supporting an average of more than 517,000 jobs in the Leisure & Hospitality sector last year. Estimates show visitors are expected to generate at least $300 million dollars in transient occupancy tax collections for the City of Los Angeles in 2017, a record. These dollars are used to fund local fire, police as well as cultural and recreational services.
By Latifa Zenaina