A bright spot in the local economy -- tourism -- continues to generate big numbers for the region's beleaguered businesses.
Tourists spent $16.4 billion in 2012, most of it on hotels and restaurants, according to a study commissioned by the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. By comparison, the agency said, tourists spent $15.4 billion in 2011.
Tourism last year also generated more than $2 billion in state and local taxes, the study said.
The study, completed by Micronomics, an economics research and consulting firm from Los Angeles, also concluded that tourism helped support nearly 230,000 jobs last year.
Tourism has been on the rise for three years, with 41.4 million visitors in 2012, a new record and a 2.5% increase over 2011.
The impact of the spending is nearly doubled to $30.5 billion because of what economists call the "multiplier effect," which represents how spending promotes more spending by business bolstered by the tourism growth.
Of the tourists visiting L.A. County, 85% were from the U.S. and 15% were from foreign countries. China became the nation's top overseas market for the first time, with 460,000 visitors last year, the study said.
Chinese visitors spend an average of $2,652 per visit, more than twice the amount spent by all overseas visitors, according to federal studies.