Los Angeles tourism stats round-up post

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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Los Angeles tourism stats round-up post

Los Angeles may attract actors and movie stars but it also welcomes millions of visitors from around the world.

The destination’s exciting film industry, diverse culinary scene, and top-tier shopping make it a global hub for tourism. Add to that a warm climate and beautiful California beaches and it’s become one of the go-to vacation spots in the United States.

There’s no shortage of tours and attractions in LA, proving that you don’t need to carry the Disneyland brand to find success in this dynamic market. These are the most up-to-date Los Angeles tourism statistics that all attractions and tour operators need to know.

How many tourists visit Los Angeles each year?

Los Angeles was experiencing record tourism growth up until 2019. Let’s take a look at how the pandemic impacted LA’s overall visitation from 2019 to 2021.

LA Tourists in 2021

Covid-19 outbreaks and ongoing travel restrictions kept many people at home during the first half of 2021. When California re-opened in mid-June, millions began returning to LA.

LA welcomed about 40 million visitors in 2021, a sign that the destination is starting to rebound after the pandemic. Full recovery is expected in 2023, when 51 million visitors are expected to visit.

In 2021, leisure travel bounced back but business travel continued to lag. International travel, however, still has a long way to go to reach pre-pandemic numbers.

LA Tourists in 2020

The pandemic nearly decimated LA’s tourism sector, especially international arrivals. In 2020, LA’s visitor count plunged to 27 million, a 53% decrease from 2019. Tourism revenue fell to a low of $10 billion, compared to $25 billion the year prior.

LA Tourists in 2019

A record-breaking 51 million people traveled to LA in 2019. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the city achieved nine straight years of record visitation numbers. In 2018, the destination celebrated a milestone of 50 million visitors for the first time.

LA Monthly Tourism Numbers

About 4 million people visited LA on average during its peak tourism years in 2018 and 2019.

LA Weekly Tourism Numbers

LA welcomed about 50 million people in 2019, which breaks down to about 1 million visitors per week.

LA Daily Tourism Numbers

An average of 134,000 people visited LA each day in 2019. Daily visitor numbers could have been significantly higher during peak tourism months. LA’s high season can last from May to September, especially the summer months from June to August.

How much money does tourism bring to LA?

LA’s tourism revenue plunged to $10 billion in 2020. But to better understand how much money tourism brings to LA, it helps to look at the last “normal” year for the destination. Before the pandemic hit, more visitors were visiting LA than ever before.

In 2019, the tourism industry generated a record $37.8 billion in total economic impact. Visitors to the state of California spent a total of $144.9 billion that same year — 26% of that was spent in LA.

Tourism supported over 544,000 jobs in LA’s leisure and hospitality sector.

Which Demographics Want to Visit Los Angeles the Most?

Most of LA’s visitors are there for vacation, although about 20% are visiting for business purposes. 

The bulk of them come from the U.S. Specifically, California and nearby states like Azirzona and Nevada. A good chunk come from New York, too.

Many international tourists are also attracted to LA’s sunny weather and expansive beaches. Nearly 2 million travel to LA from Mexico, while another million arrive from China.

How many Americans visit LA each year? 

About 44 million Americans traveled to LA in 2019, representing over 80% of all visitors. As international tourism struggles to bounce back, domestic tourists have made up the bulk of LA’s visitors over the past two years.

Top states that have the most tourists that visit LA

A large portion of LA’s domestic visitors come from nearby California cities like San Francisco and San Diego.

About 17% come from LA’s five-county area (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties). Another 11.6% arrive from San Francisco, and 5% from San Diego — making California the top domestic market.

Rounding out the top five domestic markets are:

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. Arizona
  5. Nevada

How many international tourists visit LA each year?  

International tourists are a key component of LA’s tourism success.

In 2018, LA welcomed an all-time high of 7.5 million international visitors. Out of the 51 million people that visited in 2019, over 7 million were from overseas. And these 7 million foreign visitors accounted for a whopping 56% of all tourism spending.

Only about 3 million international tourists visited in 2021. International travel is only expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2025.

Top countries that have the most tourists that visit LA

As of 2018, these were the top five countries of origin for international tourists visiting LA:

  1. Mexico – 1.8 million
  2. China, excluding Hong Kong – 1.2 million
  3. Canada – 780,000
  4. Australia – 426,000
  5. U.K. – 382,000

How Much Do Tourists Typically Spend in LA? 

Direct visitor spend totaled a whopping $23.9 billion in 2018. Then in 2019, visitors spent even more on hotels, restaurants, shopping, and attractions. Visitor spending hit an all-time high $24.7 billion the year before the pandemic.

International tourists typically stay longer and spend more in LA. One in four of LA’s 31 million overnight visitors were international in 2019. And they represented half of all overnight visitor spending.

In 2021, international visitation was still low. Foreign visitor spending only represented $1.6 billion in 2021, but this number is expected to grow to $6.2 billion in 2022.

Share of tourism spending/revenue in LA by country of origin 

China is among LA’s top five international markets by visitor volume. And a recent surge in Chinese tourists in LA has led to some top-dollar vacations: They’re spending an average of about $6,900 per visit.

How Many Hotel Rooms Are In LA? 

Today, there are about 108,000 hotel rooms in LA. Several new hotels opened in 2021, including the Courtyard Marina Del Rey, Venice V Hotel, and Le Meridien Pasadena Arcadia.

LA hotels set all-time highs in 2019 in terms of room nights sold. In turn, overnight visitors generated a record $323 million in hotel taxes.

How many tours and attractions are in LA? 

LA’s countless tours and attractions can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to the city’s mild climate. Families may travel here for nearby Disneyland and Universal theme parks, while others flock here for the museums, hiking, and buzzing nightlife.

Among LA’s top attractions you’ll find the Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory; the Hollywood Sign and Walk of Fame; the picturesque Santa Monica Pier; and Venice Beach.

Top 15 LA Tourism Attractions by the numbers

What are LA’s top attractions? Let’s break it down by the numbers.

  1. Over 22 million people visit Downtown LA every year.
  2. All of LA’s 50 or so million visitors are bound to see the Hollywood Sign at least once, making it one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.
  3. Disneyland — located in Anaheim about  half an hour southeast of LA — welcomed 18.7 million tourists in 2019. 
  4. A whopping 10 million visitors stroll through the Hollywood Walk of Fame every year.
  5. Over 9 million people visit the Santa Monica Pier every year. Peak visitation happens between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  6. There were over 9 million visitors at the Universal Studios Hollywood in 2018 and 2019. 
  7. Disney California Adventure welcomed 9.9 million visitors in 2019.
  8. More than 4 million people from all over the world visit the TCL Chinese Theater.
  9. Griffith Park is the largest city park in the country, with 400 square feet of recreational space and 50 miles of hiking trails that lead to some of the most spectacular views of the city and Hollywood Sign.
  10. The Griffith Observatory is the most-visited public observatory in the world, welcoming 1.6 million people per year.
  11. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) features more than 130,000 art pieces and attracts about 1 million visitors annually.
  12. The Getty Center is open to the public with free admission and attracts nearly 1.5 million visitors per year.
  13. Nearly 300,000 people visited the Battleship IOWA Museum in 2019.
  14. It is estimated that about 28,000 to 30,000 people visit the Venice Beach Boardwalk on a daily basis.
  15. The L.A. Art Show draws around 70,000 visitors in a normal year.

***

Los Angeles is a vibrant destination that will continue attracting travelers from the U.S. and abroad. If you’re a tour and attraction operator in LA, these stats should help you create future marketing plans for 2023 and beyond.

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Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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