L.A. County sets another tourism record with 48.3 million visitors last year

A man dressed in a Minion costume from the 'Despicable Me' movies strikes a pose along Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. The county set a record for hosting tourists for the seventh year in a row. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

For the seventh straight year, Los Angeles County has set a record for drawing big-spending tourists.

The county hosted 48.3 million visitors in 2017, a 2.2% increase over the record 47.3 million tourists in 2016, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who announced the fresh record during a news conference at Los Angeles International Airport.

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The visitor increase was fueled by a 6.3% surge in travelers from South Korea, a 6% jump in tourists from China, and a 5.5% improvement in visitors from Canada, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board reported.

Garcetti and Ernest Wooden, chief executive of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, attributed the increase in visitors to a campaign launched last year called "Everyone is Welcome."

The campaign was meant to be a response to President Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric and his travel bans, which some industry leaders say is scaring off international visitors.

In contrast to L.A.'s visitor increase, overall international visitation to the U.S. dropped 4% in the first six months of 2017, according to the latest data from the National Travel and Tourism Office.

The U.S. Travel Assn., a trade group for the country's travel industry, said it plans to respond to the drop by forming a coalition with other U.S. industries, called "Visit US," to send a message that the country welcomes international visitors.

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