Los Angeles tourism generated a record $36.6 billion for the region’s economy last year

Tourists visit the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County set another record in tourism, with visitors’ economic impact reaching $36.6 billion in 2018, a 4.9% increase over the previous year.

The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board released a report showing that the record 50 million visitors to the county last year spent $23.9 billion while in the region.

When spending by hotel employees, restaurant staff and other workers who benefited from the spending is calculated, the visitors had a $36.6-billion total economic impact, the board said.


“Tourism is a powerful force in the growth and development of the Los Angeles economy, supporting jobs for our families and producing significant revenue that goes toward the betterment of our community,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and chief executive of the convention board.

The increase in Los Angeles County reflects the overall growth of the industry in California, where tourists spent $140.6 billion in 2018, a 5.4% increase over 2017, according to Visit California, the state’s nonprofit tourism agency.

In Los Angeles County, tourist spending generated $2.9 billion in state and local tax revenues, the board reported.

Tourism leaders had worried that trade tensions abroad and harsh rhetoric by President Trump against immigrants from Mexico would discourage international visitors from coming to the U.S.

Mexico is one of the biggest sources of foreign tourists to the U.S. while Chinese visitors spend the most per capita while traveling to this country.

Tourism supported more than 534,000 jobs last year, the highest total on record, or 1 for every 8.5 workers in the county, according to the tourism board.


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