Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Record-Breaking Year for Tourism

Happy new year! I kicked off the new year by meeting up with a few friends at Grauman's Chinese Theater to announce that our tourism economy is stronger than ever. 24.9 million tourists visited Los Angeles in 2005, putting $12.7 billion in our local economy. We booked record convention business in December that will continue to pay off for years to come. Our hotel occupancy rate reached the fourth-highest number in the country, our cruise traffic grew, and we can look forward to steady growth in this sector.

Just like the world-class attractions around the corner that you forget to visit until a visitor comes and wants to do the "touristy" things, few of us think about how vital the tourism industry is to our local economy. But tourist spending creates jobs--often good, unionized jobs--and tax revenues that fund city services. So let's keep the welcome mat out for visitors from near and far in 2006.