Executive Summary

It's no surprise that tourism in Los Angeles County took a hit last year.

International visitors were staying away in record numbers, down 8.6 percent in 2001 over 2000, and regional tourists helped buoy numbers only slightly. There were 23.8 million tourists to L.A. in 2001, down from 24.7 million in 2000.

Germans tourists were most likely to stay away, their numbers down 29 percent from the year earlier. Also absent were the Chinese and Taiwanese, who curtailed their visits by 22 and 18 percent, respectively.

As a result, visitors contributed $11.8 billion to the L.A. economy, compared with $13.8 billion in 2000.

Hotel occupancy in L.A. County dipped accordingly in 2001, to 68.4 percent from 76.1 percent in 2000. The average daily room rate declined to $120.66 in 2001 from $122.36 in 2000.

Los Angeles remains a top domestic destination, ranked fourth among U.S. travelers behind Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago.

Deborah Belgum

The Pacesetter: Pleasant Holidays LLC

The travel industry was hit hard after Sept. 11, but Pleasant Holidays nevertheless saw revenues climb to $490 million, up from $450 million in 2000. "The first half of the year we had a lot of momentum in travel," said spokesman Ken Phillips. "Then in June it began to slow when the economy started to slow down. Sept. 11 finished off the year."

The company still isn't seeing a bounce back for Hawaiian tours, which usually account for up to 85 percent of revenues. Still, Pleasant Holidays projects a 5 percent to 8 percent revenue increase this year, in part due to more travel to Mexico.

Formed in New Jersey 43 years ago and now headquartered in Westlake Village, Pleasant Holidays has undergone an overhaul in the last year.

At the end of last year, the Automobile Club of Southern California extended its stake in the agency known for Hawaiian holiday packages to 96 percent, combining the firm's four non-Hawaiian operating groups under the broad corporate umbrella.

Founder Ed Hogan was replaced as president and chief executive by Tim Irwin, vice president of travel for AAA. Under Irwin, the company combined its various branded companies, including Pleasant Mexico Holidays, Pleasant Tahitian Holidays, Pleasant South Pacific Holidays, and Japan & Orient Tours all under the Pleasant Holidays name.

Deborah Belgum

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