Tourists flocked to Los Angeles last year in surging numbers that beat last year’s record.
Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday said that 45.5 million people visited the city, hitting a record for the fifth year in a row. He credited the growth – 1.3 million more visitors than last year – to upgrades to the Los Angeles International Airport and public transportation along with downtown’s booming growth.
“Our city keeps setting records in the tourism sector because we are investing billions at our airport, in mass transit, and other assets that are making L.A. more exciting and accessible than ever,” Garcetti said in a statement.
Modernizing LAX has been a focal point in the city’s goal to attract 50 million tourists by 2020. Los Angeles is spending $8.5 billion on airport renovations and will invest an additional $5 billion to build a rail system that would help passengers reach their terminals. Meanwhile, major U.S. airlines are infusing $1 billion to revamp their terminals, according to Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Sean Burton.
“LAX is the first and last impression of Los Angeles that visitors have,” he said in a statement.
Attractions such as the Special Olympics World Games and downtown’s new Broad Museum may have also helped push out-of-towners into the city, officials said.
China is leading the way among international visitors. Of the 6.7 million people who visited from around the globe last year, 779,000 were Chinese, a 13 percent jump over last year. The number of South Korean tourists increased nearly as much, climbing 11 percent from last year.