The region’s tourism industry could reap up to a half-billion dollars in additional revenue if Los Angeles were to host the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

But the bump would not come from more tourists descending on the region. In fact, a study released last week predicted the number of tourists would actually drop 3 percent if the games were held here. Rather, those tourists that would show up are projected to stay longer and spend more – about twice what a typical tourist spends – according to the study from UC Riverside and L.A.’s Beacon Economics on behalf of LA 2024, a committee leading the city’s Olympic bid effort.

“While there may be marginally fewer visitors than during a typical summer, the additional spending by visitors associated with the (games) more than offsets the drop, resulting in a significant net economic impact,” lead study author and Beacon co-founder Christopher Thornberg said in the study.

The result would be a net increase in visitor spending of between $390 million and $490 million, a significant part of the overall $6 billion increase in total spending and $11 billion in total increased economic output that the study projects the games would bring to Los Angeles.

The local lodging industry, which has been doing quite well of late as a record 47 million visitors surged into Los Angeles last year and boosted the average annual room occupancy rate to 83 percent, welcomed the report.

“The hotel industry remains optimistic on L.A.’s selection (as the host city for the 2024 games),” said Bob Amano, executive director of the Los Angeles Hotel Association. “Management, employees, and hospitality associates across the region look forward to welcoming the world to our great city.”

Unlike a Super Bowl or other major sporting event, the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games promise to bring increased bookings at hotels throughout the L.A. region, thanks to the spread-out nature of the venues, said Victor Matheson, professor in the economic and accounting department at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

Rates up

Matheson, a sports economics analyst who has been publicly skeptical of some of the economic benefit claims put forward by Olympics boosters over the years, said in this instance of projecting visitor spending, the Beacon-UC Riverside study is generally on the mark. However, he added that one reason why visitors to the Olympics generally spend more than typical tourists is because hotels increase their room rates.

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