Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined yesterday by other elected City, airport and local tourism officials to announce a fourth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism for the City and record-breaking passenger levels at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
In 2014, 43.4 million visitors made Los Angeles their ultimate destination, while an estimated 70.7 million passengers traveled through LAX in 2014. The announcements were made at LAX’s New Tom Bradley International Terminal, where four additional aircraft gates recently became operational, for a total of 12 new gates. Dining and retail concessions in the new terminal’s Great Hall are also now open and providing travelers from around the world with breathtaking design, world-class amenities, and premier retail and dining collections curated by Westfield and the DFS Group. Currently under construction, Westfield will debut a new experience comprised of 17 new dining and retail destinations, cutting-edge design, and amenities in the Bradley Terminal’s departures and arrivals areas in 2015.
The mayor reported that in addition to last year’s record set for visitation – an increase of 1.2 million visitors over 2013 levels – tourism records also were set for the highest level of international visitors at 6.5 million; an estimated record-breaking hotel occupancy rate of 79 percent; and most room nights sold at 28.04 million, an increase of 3.2 percent compared to 2013.
Mayor Garcetti also reported that LAX’s record 70.7 million passengers last year was approximately six percent higher than the 66.7 million passengers in 2013. The previous record was 67.3 million passengers in 2000. Of the 2014 total, an estimated 18.9 million (or 26.8 percent) were aboard international flights – a six percent increase over the previous record set in 2013 of 17.8 million international passengers.
“The continuing, record-breaking growth and strength of tourism in Los Angeles is a shining light for our economy, creating good-paying jobs for our families, benefiting local businesses, and generating significant revenue for the city that goes toward the public services our city needs,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Angelenos should be proud that our great city is such a desired tourist destination for visitors from across the U.S. and around the world.”
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said, “As a city, we have worked hard to modernize our tourism infrastructure so that Los Angeles continues to stand out as a world-class tourist destination. These new statistics reflect the success of our efforts. This is not the finish line, but a renewal of our commitment to excel in the competition for global tourism.”
“Tourism is essential to Southern California’s economy and the increased growth of these record-breaking numbers continue to welcome the world to the City of Angels,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge, chairman of the City Council’s Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee. “I applaud Mayor Garcetti for his leadership and dedication in continuing to portray Los Angeles as a global state of tourism.”
Mayor Garcetti attributed the record-breaking levels to new attractions, growth in the International marketplace – particularly China, revitalized neighborhoods including Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles, growing recognition of L.A. as a hot culinary and cultural destination, and LAX’s current multi-billion-dollar modernization program to improve international and domestic terminals, airfield, utilities plant, roadways, and other facilities. In particular, Mayor Garcetti noted that the opening of the New Tom Bradley International Terminal in late 2013 contributed to new service in 2014 by Norwegian Air, Etihad, and Saudia airlines, as well as to additional daily flights on existing routes by several foreign air carriers.
“These record-breaking tourism and travel numbers show that LAX is on the right track and underscore the importance of moving quickly on connecting LAX to our growing Metro rail system. With the Airport Commission’s approval of multiple landside transportation projects last year, we are moving to make good on this long-standing promise to all Angelenos and tourists to our City. By making it easier, faster, and more convenient to travel through our airport, we’ll greatly improve the passenger experience and ease the strain on the surrounding neighborhoods while LAX continues to grow as a world-class airport,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, whose district includes LAX.
Councilmember Joe Buscaino said, “Los Angeles has all the characteristics of a world-class economy. It is an international gateway, home to the largest container ports in the United States while LAX is the world’s busiest origin-and-destination airport. We have the nation’s largest manufacturing base, the world’s leading entertainment companies, and a substantial base of small- and medium-sized businesses. We provide access to the world’s most diverse consumer markets and are home to a large share of educated people working in our most globally competitive industries – technology, entertainment, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing.”
Tourism is among the largest and healthiest contributors to the L.A. economy, in 2013 bringing $18.4 billion in direct visitor spending to the Los Angeles area. In Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the Leisure and Hospitality sector supported an average of 442,000 jobs in the Los Angeles region and generated $184.4 million in transient-occupancy taxes for the City of Los Angeles.
“The fourth consecutive record-breaking year for tourism and strong growth in international visitation underscores that Los Angeles has emerged as a leading global tourist destination,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LA Tourism). “Our 2014 visitation growth, combined with LA Tourism’s accelerated marketing efforts, is keeping us on track to reach our goal of 50 million visitors by 2020.”
Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Sean Burton said, “LAX’s current multi-billion-dollar, airport-wide improvements; continued revitalization of the airport’s dining and retail offerings with an additional 80 options that reflect L.A.’s culture, cuisine, and lifestyle; and other passenger amenities such as
spas and children’s play area, are providing visitors to LAX with a significantly improved customer service experience.” He added, “The major U.S. airlines at LAX also are committed to passenger-service improvements by investing more than $1 billion combined to renovate their terminals.”
“Westfield takes great pride in partnering with Mayor Garcetti, the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles World Airports to grow visitors from around the world and create an economic engine for the region,” said Dominic Lowe, executive vice-president of Westfield’s Airports Division. “At Westfield, we believe the journey is just as important as the destination, and we look forward to a bright future at LAX as we continue to forge a bold new experience with premier dining, retail, design and amenities.”
The more than $7-billion LAX Modernization Program is creating nearly 40,000 construction-related jobs and pumps $6.89 billion into the local economy. Furthermore, operations at LAX are responsible for 294,400 jobs in Los Angeles County and an additional 19,400 jobs in neighboring Southern California counties. The LAX Modernization Program is funded by LAX operating revenue, terminal concession revenue, airline fees, and airport revenue bond proceeds. No monies from the Los Angeles City general fund are used.