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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LA Tourism) President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr have announced Los Angeles welcomed a record 42.2 million visitors in 2013, a 2% increase over 2012’s 41.4 million, beating mid-year projections by 150,000 visitors and breaking visitation records for the third consecutive year.

“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 important public services our city needs,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has been a strong champion of growing the tourism industry in LA.

“Angelenos should be proud that our great city is such a highly desired tourist destination for visitors from across the U.S. and around the world.”

Total domestic visitation to Los Angeles reached 36 million visitors in 2013, a 1.9% increase over 35.3 million in 2012. Domestic overnight visitation achieved its highest historical level with 22.3 million overnight visitors. This constitutes 490,000 new domestic overnight visitors and a growth of 2.2%.

Total international visitation set a record with 6.2 million visitors, a 2.6% percent increase over 2012. China was the biggest driver of overseas visitation with a year-over-year growth of more than 21%, and solidified its position as LA’s No. 1 overseas market, ahead of Australia.

LA’s hotel occupancy and hotel room nights sold both set all-time record highs in 2013. Hotel occupancy for the year reached 76.8%, surpassing the previous 2012 record of 75.4%. LA County’s hotels sold a record 27.2 million room nights in 2013, an increase of 2.1% percent over 2012.

“The third consecutive record-breaking year for tourism underscores that Los Angeles has emerged as a leading global tourist destination,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., LA Tourism’s President and CEO.

“We are on track to reach the goal of 50 million visitors by 2020. The fact that 2013 visitation exceeded projections for organic growth shows the impact that LA Tourism’s ongoing marketing efforts, the efforts of our tourism partners, and the coordinated improvements in public infrastructure and major improvements at LAX Airport have on our economy. This is a huge achievement for the Los Angeles tourism and hospitality industry.”

Tourism is among the largest and healthiest contributors to the Los Angeles economy, bringing $16.5 billion in direct spending to Los Angeles for a total economic benefit of $30.5 billion in 2012. Tourism directly supported 324,000 jobs in the LA region in 2012. Visitation to Los Angeles generated $179 million in transient-occupancy taxes for the City of LA in FY12-13, a 10.7% increase over $162 million in the prior year. Tourism also generated $2.1 billion in total local and state tax revenue.