Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) president & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. announced that Los Angeles welcomed 48.31 million visitors in 2017, setting a new tourism milestone for the seventh consecutive year.
The record figure is 1.0 million visitors higher than 2016’s total, an increase of 2.2 per cent, driven by an all-time high 41.2 million domestic visitors. International visitation overall grew 0.9 per cent to a record 7.1 million visitors, outperforming both its projected forecast and inbound travel to the United States as a whole in 2017.
2017 marked a record year for Canada, with its highest ever visitor total of 747,000. Visitation from Canada also outperformed an earlier forecast by nearly 5 per cent and outperformed visitation to the United States as a whole. 2017 was also a strong year for airlift, with a 10.6 per cent increase in seat capacity to LAX and expanded air service from Air Canada from Vancouver.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) also announced a record-breaking 2017, having welcomed more than 84.9 million passengers. LAX is the largest U.S. gateway airport to Canada with more passengers than any other airport.
Other international markets recording significant gains for Los Angeles in 2017 included: China with 1.1 million visitors (6.0 per cent YOY increase); South Korea with 315,000 visitors (6.3 per cent YOY increase, the largest gain among all markets); and India with 121,000 visitors (4.0 per cent YOY increase).
“We are powering Los Angeles’ economy to new heights every year, because we know that lasting prosperity means investing boldly in jobs, opportunity, and growth,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The expansion of our travel and tourism sector tells the story of a city whose moment has arrived — and we will continue pushing forward as we expand our role on the world stage, and prepare to welcome the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028.”
A contributing factor to L.A.’s year-over-year increase in international visitation is the resonance of a message of welcome. In April 2017, L.A. Tourism launched an initiative called “Everyone is Welcome” which reinforced the city’s cultural diversity and inclusivity.
“Our ‘Everyone is Welcome’ campaign was the right message at the right time; it was a message of humanity and encouraged people around the globe to see the diversity of L.A.’s faces and places,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president & CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “In 2018, we will extend and amplify our message of ‘Welcome’ and intertwine a message of hospitality, fueling even greater momentum towards our north star of 50 million visitors by the year 2020.”
Tourism is among the largest and healthiest contributors to the Los Angeles economy, supporting an average of more than 517,000 jobs in the Leisure & Hospitality sector last year.