Number of overseas visitors to California rises 11% in 2014

California came in third behind New York and Florida in drawing overseas visitors

California hosted 7.2 million overseas visitors last year, an 11% increase over 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Golden State came in third in the nation in drawing overseas visitors, behind New York with 9.98 million and Florida with 8.5 million, according to the agency.

Although California also draws millions of visitors from Mexico and Canada, overseas visitors are highly sought after by tourism-related businesses such as hotels and theme parks because they typically stay longer and spend more money.

Although New York has held the position of most visited state by overseas travelers for 14 consecutive years, total visits increased only 2% last year, and the state's share of all overseas travelers slipped slightly from 30.6% to 29%, according to the Department of Commerce.

Among cities, Los Angeles came in third in hosting overseas visitors, behind New York and Miami, the department said. The largest increases took place in Atlanta (25%) and San Diego (24%), data showed.

The average length of stay by an overseas visitor was 18.4 nights in 2014, up from 17.5 nights in 2013. 

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