Lacking sufficient lodging, L.A. tourism growth lags rivals
In the battle for tourists, Los Angeles is losing ground to rivals Orlando, Fla., New York, and Chicago.
L.A. County has broken its own record for annual visitors three years in a row ? thanks to a rebounding economy, sunny California weather and popular tourist attractions.
But L.A.’s tourist numbers are not growing fast enough to keep up with the nation’s top three destinations, primarily because the city lacks enough hotel rooms to host more tourists.
“We have an awful lot of things that are in our favor,” said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
“But one big constraint I’ve seen in the last several years is that we don’t have enough rooms in the vicinity of the convention center.”
Kleinhenz and tourist industry officials closely follow visitation numbers for good reason.
Visitors to Los Angeles County booked 26.6 million room nights in 2012, spent about $16.5 billion and supported 324,000 jobs in the region, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.
Tourism has surged nationwide, thanks to a recovering U.S. economy and an influx of middle-class foreign travelers, particularly from China, Brazil, Japan and Australia.
Tourist numbers are rising especially fast in Chicago, New York and Orlando ? so fast that those cities have recently revised their tourist forecasts up for the next few years. Tourism leaders in those cities attribute the growth to new efforts to promote their cities abroad, an improving economy, and construction of new hotels to accommodate visitors.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently predicted Chicago would host 55 million annual visitors by 2020, up from a previous forecast of 50 million.
“What we are seeing is that there is a rising tide,” said Don Welsh, president and chief executive of Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism bureau.
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Source: Hugo Martin (2014).Lacking sufficient lodging, L.A. tourism growth lags rivals , Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-tourism-wars-20140423,0,386286.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29#axzz2zrFT0sxJ published Apr 23, 2014. Viewed Apr 25, 2014.