Los Angeles tourism surged to its fifth consecutive year of record-breaking growth in 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. A total of 45.5 million tourists visited the city last year, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board — an increase of 1.3 million over 2014. These latest numbers keep the city well on pace to reach Mayor Garcetti’s goal of 50 million annual visitors by 2020.
Momentum in the local tourism sector is building amid a period of booming growth in infrastructure across Los Angeles. As LAX forges ahead with its $8.5 billion modernization program, the Downtown skyline continues an unprecedented transformation, and new transportation projects make moving through the city and region faster and easier than ever before.
“Los Angeles is a place where the world comes together for cultural experiences and celebrated attractions that cannot be found anywhere else,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our city keeps setting records in the tourism sector because we are investing billions at our airport, in mass transit, and other assets that are making L.A. more exciting and accessible than ever. The sky’s the limit.”
The increase in tourism from China to L.A. has been particularly pronounced, with more than 779,000 Chinese tourists visiting the City last year — more than 13 percent higher than in 2014. Visitorship from South Korea also spiked, with an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.
Overall, Los Angeles welcomed 6.7 million international visitors last year.
“LA is truly a global city, as this year’s numbers demonstrate and confirm,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, chair of the Los Angeles City Council’s Trade, Commerce and Technology Committee. “We are a destination, not only for our natural beauty, mountains, and beaches, our theme parks and world famous landmarks, but also for those wishing to do business with the third largest metropolitan economy in the world; a global center for content generation, innovation, and more. Last year’s record-setting tourism numbers send a message to the world that LA is open for business, and I know that the world will respond in 2016 and in the years ahead.”
The growth in tourism was propelled by milestone accomplishments in 2015, including the success of the Special Olympics World Games, the opening of the Broad Museum and the reopening of the Petersen Automotive Museum.
“We want to recognize and congratulate our hospitality community for their passion and dedication which has allowed us to celebrate our fifth consecutive year of record-breaking visitation. It’s these individuals and businesses that make Los Angeles such a dynamic destination that 45.5 million people traveled to experience it in 2015,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “These figures help propel us to our goal of welcoming 50 million visitors by 2020.”
Los Angeles is matching the growth of its tourism sector with an unprecedented $8.5 billion modernization program at LAX, which has become the nation’s busiest destination airport, and the second-busiest overall. Those upgrades include substantial capital improvements to virtually every terminal at the airport. Another $5 billion will be invested in a rail system to ease mobility into and out of the airport, as well as between terminals; and a brand new consolidated rental car facility.
“LAX is the first and last impression of Los Angeles that visitors have,” said Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Sean Burton. “While the major U.S. airlines at LAX are investing more than $1 billion combined to renovate their terminals, Los Angeles World Airports is spending billions to improve the guest experience by rebuilding and modernizing its terminals, making changes to the airport’s dining and retail offerings to reflect L.A.’s culture, cuisine and lifestyle; upgrading technology and planning for future transportation enhancements that will significantly improve access to the airport.”
“Now is a pivotal time for LAX and for L.A.,” said Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Deborah Flint. “We are changing and transforming the airport, bringing LAX into the modern era for the modern traveler by providing a world class experience, in world class facilities. Visitors to Los Angeles and residents have a lot to look forward to.”