Tourists are expected to come to Los Angeles in record numbers this year and spend even more money in the area than they did in 2000, when the travel industry peaked before a post-9/11 slump.


L.A. Inc., the city's convention and visitors bureau, estimates that 25.6 million travelers will come to Los Angeles this year and will plow at least $13.3 billion into the local economy, the amount reached in 2000. Last year, 24.9 million visitors spent $12.7 billion during their trips to Los Angeles.


Cruise traffic also is expected to grow, after notable jumps last year. In 2005, there was a 40 percent increase in the number of cruise passengers compared to the prior year.


Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, speaking Tuesday to hotel, business and labor leaders gathered at Mann's Grauman's Chinese Theatre, said he has taken an active role in promoting the city's tourism. "The tourism industry makes a major impact on the economy of the city of Los Angeles, employing thousands of Angelenos and contributing revenue to the city," he said.


Specifically, Villaraigosa mentioned he helped broker a deal between hotel operators and union workers to avoid a lockout at seven L.A. hotels. In addition, he spoke of his efforts to bring the American Association of Retired People's convention to Los Angeles. The AARP convention will be held in 2011 and have an estimated $12.4 million economic impact.


In December, L.A. Inc. reported that more conventions were booked than any other month in the city's history. A total of $65 million in convention business was secured for upcoming years.


Including the AARP, seven conventions were booked in December and over 140,000 hotel room nights will be reserved for conventiongoers. Among the conventions coming to L.A. are the American Association for Cancer Research in 2007, the Association for Computing Machinery in 2008 and U.S. Green Building in 2008.

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