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Los Angeles Tourism Numbers Nearing 2019 Levels—With Major Events on the Way

Photo of Adam Burke speaking at Visit California event.

Los Angeles Tourism announced that tourism to Los Angeles County generated $34.5 billion in total business sales in 2022, reaching 91% of 2019’s record-setting levels. The May 4 announcement, made at a joint event with Visit California and Los Angeles World Airports at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), kicked off California Tourism Month with optimism. 

Photo of Adam Burke President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.
Adam Burke

“As we make strides toward a stronger, safer and healthier Los Angeles, it is important to recognize the vital role the tourism industry plays in improving the lives of Angelenos,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “Tourism’s strong recovery provides long-lasting economic opportunities that reach every neighborhood and household in Los Angeles and I'm proud to continue to support this growth.” 

Other major tourism numbers include: 

  • More than 528,200 tourism-related careers were generated last year.  
  • Hotel demand grew in 2022 to reach nearly 30 million room nights sold, reaching 96.3% of 2019 record levels. 
  • In 2023, hotel demand is expected to reach 31 million room nights, 102% of 2019 levels.  

“Over the course of the pandemic, we saw first-hand how indispensable tourism is to our community, with job losses of nearly 200,000 and $42.2 billion in lost business sales, impacting hundreds of small businesses across the region,” said Los Angeles Tourism President and CEO Adam Burke. “Thankfully, 2022 marked a major turning point in LA’s economic recovery.” 

Chart reflecting employment business impact of tourism in Los Angeles.

[Related: 3 California Tourism DEI Leaders Who Are Making a Difference]

Meetings and Conventions Impact 

The Los Angeles Convention Center took an 18-month hiatus during the pandemic but bounced back in FY 2021-2022 with 11 citywide conventions at the facility, drawing nearly 300,000 attendees and generating 200,225 room nights for area hotels. Looking ahead this year, 21 confirmed major meetings and events are coming to the city, projected to generate approximately $225 million in total economic impact. 

Major global events including the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games are on the docket as well.  

“The travel and tourism industry not only creates revenue that supports the City’s General Fund, but provides careers for a diverse population and makes our city culturally vibrant,” said Doane Liu, chief tourism officer for the City of Los Angeles. “I’m excited about how much progress we’ve made towards recovery, and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to implement the recommendations in our Tourism Master Plan, including expanding and modernizing the L.A. Convention Center.” 

[Related: 4 Ways Los Angeles Is Becoming a More Sustainable Meetings Destination]

International Travel Recovery 

International travel continues to be a key factor in the full tourism recovery of Los Angeles. In 2022, the city welcomed 46.2 million visitors, including 41.9 million domestic and 4.3 million international visitors—total visitation was 91.1% recovered to record-breaking 2019 levels. In 2023, nearly 50 million visitors are expected, with total visitation estimated to reach 98% to 2019 levels. 

In 2022, international visitation increased by nearly 2 million visitors, representing an 81.7% year-over-year increase from 2021. Los Angeles’ top five international markets in 2022 were Mexico (1,440,000), Canada (590,000), U.K./Ireland (300,000), France (240,000) and Australia/New Zealand (230,000).   

“While there’s still work ahead to achieve full recovery—particularly in rebuilding vital international visitation—there are more reasons to visit LA than ever before, and I wholeheartedly believe the best is yet to come,” Burke said. 

L.A. 2.0: Major Investments Coming to Los Angeles 

The surge in visitation comes as Los Angeles Tourism spotlighted major investments across the region, from infrastructure and hotel development to newly introduced attractions. Dubbed “L.A. 2.0,” updates include:  

A $15 billion modernization of Los Angeles International Airport, which includes 15 new, state-of-the-art gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.  

Chart reflecting major tourism-related projects in Los Angeles.

Attractions like SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Hammer Museum’s recent renovation and Destination Crenshaw, set to open in 2024.  

[Related: L.A. to Make Travel for Meetings Easier with Transportation Improvements]

Los Angeles region has added over 7,400 hotel rooms since February 2020. Recently opened properties include the Conrad Los Angeles and Moxy and AC Hotels Downtown.  

As the city prepares to welcome many new visitors, it is investing in major improvements to its airport. 

Photo of Visit California CEO Caroline Beteta speaking at California Tourism Month event.
Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. Credit: Visit California, Max Whittaker.

“Los Angeles International Airport has one of the largest and most ambitious capital improvement programs in the world, and what we are doing here is really transformational,” said Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Justin Erbacci. “We are proud that soon visitors will experience our People Mover train, which will provide a seamless journey for guests arriving and departing LAX. We look forward to welcoming even more visitors from around the globe as our city prepares to host major events like the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” 

Los Angeles Tourism’s year-end numbers were compiled by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, and Los Angeles Tourism. 

Information based off of a press release from Los Angeles Tourism.   

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About the author
Danielle LeBreck | Senior Content Director

Danielle started at Meetings Today in March 2019 after seven years of editorial experience in the travel and food industries. She oversees all of the destination content for Meetings Today and collaborates with the team on digital content strategy and content marketing initiatives.