Independent Staff Report
HOLLYWOOD — It’s the first week of summer. School is out.
That means tourist season is in full bloom in Hollywood.
Everywhere you look around town you find tourists, whether it is the Hollywood Highland Center, the Sunset Strip or the Hollywood sign itself.
And tourists are always good for business.
Local officials are hoping that good weather, low gasoline prices and an improving economy will help 2015 break tourism records that were set in Southern California last year.
A record 44.2 million visitors came to Los Angeles in 2014 and spent about $19.6 billion, according to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.
That was a 4.8 percent jump over 2013. Last year also set records for international visitors, with a record 6.5 million international travelers visiting the Southland, a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year.
Visitor spending of $19.6 billion represented a 6.8 percent jump from the previous year, with officials estimating a $30.2 billion in total economic impact of tourism. International visitors accounted for nearly one-third of visitor spending.
“A shining star of our local economy, the tourism industry continues to thrive, supporting good-paying jobs for our families and generating significant revenue for our city’s vital public services,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
The local tourism industry also accounted for one of every nine workers in Los Angeles County, supporting 464,600 jobs, according to the board. Tourism contributed to the creation of 25,300 jobs in 2014, making tourism the county’s top job-growth sector.
Meanwhile, statewide tourism agency Visit California announced that California tourism also reached record highs last year, with 251 million people traveling to the state and spending $117.5 billion.
Tourism spending supported more than 1 million jobs and generated $9.3 billion in state and local tax revenue last year, according to Visit California.