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IPW: LA’s 41 million visitors

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Los Angeles welcomed a record 41.4 million visitors in 2012, a 2.5% increase over the previous record-high 40.4 million visitors in 2011 and slightly ahead of the mid-year forecast of 41.3 million visitors, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LA Tourism) executives announced at International Pow Wow in Las Vegas this week (June 13).

Total domestic visitation accounted for 35.3 million visitors, a 2.7% increase over 2011; total international visitation set a record with six million visitors, a 1.2% increase over 2011, with China becoming the destination’s top overseas market for the first-time ever.

In addition, direct visitor spending, hotel occupancy and hotel room nights sold set all-time record highs.  Visitors to the city spent an estimated USD$16.5 billion, a more than USD$1 billion increase over the USD$15.4 billion spent in 2011. Hotel occupancy set a record at 75.4%, surpassing the previous 2006 record of 75.1%; and the city sold a record 26.64 million hotel room nights generating USD$180 million in tax revenue for the city.

“Los Angeles has enjoyed two remarkable back-to-back tourism years that reflect our investments in our airport, our commitment to renovate our convention center, and our business friendly policies that help hotels and restaurants open and succeed,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “When the LA tourism industry thrives, Los Angeles thrives. The tourism industry supports one in 10 jobs in LA and the revenues that come from its success go directly to the city services Angelenos rely on.”

The City generated USD$151 million in transient-occupancy taxes in FY11-12, an 12% increase over the prior the year. The City is on track to beat even these record numbers in 2013.

“Breaking every record is especially gratifying given the increasing global competition for travelers.  These results are a big win for our entire tourism that works tirelessly to create new visitor experiences and services to inspire travelers to choose LA,” said Mark Liberman, LA Tourism President and CEO.

“It’s important to see the growth in domestic visitation as this market segment is key for our destination,” Liberman continued.  “Internationally, the big news is that in just two years, China has jumped from a top five overseas visitor market to LA to our number one overseas market, and this market will just keep growing.”

Early tourism forecasts estimate the destination will welcome 41.9 million visitors in 2013.  To continue visitation momentum, LA Tourism is launching a new domestic consumer branding campaign in the first quarter of 2013 to promote spring and summer travel and will continue its popular dineLA Restaurant Week and Discover the Arts programs.   Expanded marketing efforts will also debut in Canada, the UK and Australia, along with increased emphasis on international meetings and convention business.

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HM travelled to Las Vegas on Qantas, which offers daily flights to the city from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney via Los Angeles in partnership with American Airlines. Qantas has recently upgraded the Boeing 747s that fly on the Australia-Los Angeles route, which feature the new A380-inspired interiors including new, larger economy class seats in a cabin that’s highlighted by an extensive range of entertainment on demand alongside a great selection of Australian wine and meals designed by star chef Neil Perry. For bookings, visit www.qantas.com

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