Tourism in California and Los Angeles County continued on its record pace last year, largely driven by new visitors from Asia. But spending by international visitors statewide was down as weaker foreign currency curbed their purchasing power in the U.S.
That was the upshot from two studies released Monday at an Orange County tourism conference.
In Los Angeles County, a record 45.6 million travelers visited the region, up 3.2% from 44.2 million in 2014. Nearly 7 million of those visitors were international travelers, with many coming from China and South Korea.
Tourism officials had previously estimated that the county hosted 45.5 million visitors but the final data from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board show the number was slightly higher.
Those tourists spent more than $20.6 billion in 2015, more than ever before and a 4.9% increase in spending over the previous year, according to the convention board.
“Tourism isn’t just thriving in Los Angeles — it’s powering an economic resurgence that touches every corner of our city,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Overall, California drew an estimated 258 million visitors in 2015, a 3% increase over 2014, according to a previous study by Visit California, the travel and tourism agency for the state.
Those visitors spent $122.5 billion in 2015, a 3.4% increase over the previous year, according to a study released at the Orange County event by Dean Runyan Associates, the economic analysis firm based in Portland, Ore.
However, the statewide increase was driven by domestic travelers while spending by international visitors dropped, according to the report, which did not break out the rate changes for California.