Los Angeles County's tourism industry thrived in 2019, but not surprisingly, it will see a dramatic downturn this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released Monday.
The data compiled by Tourism Economics on behalf of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and Visit California showed that visitors spent an all-time high $24.7 billion on tourism in 2019, generating a record $37.8 billion in total economic impact.
"These figures have never been more poignant in underscoring just how powerful of a force tourism is in the growth and development of the Los Angeles economy,'' said Ernest Wooden Jr., the president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. "The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our tourism economy, but we know tourism is a resilient industry. It's critical Los Angeles is in pole position to restore tourism and these economic benefits to our residents when the time is right."
Statewide, 2019 marked a record 10 years of travel-related economic growth, according to Visit California.
Visitors to California spent $144.9 billion in 2019, a 3.2% increase over 2018. The number of travel and tourism jobs increased to 1.2 million last year, an additional 13,000 jobs.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Tourism Economics projects California will lose $72.1 billion in statewide travel-related spending in 2020. The study also showed the pandemic will affect 613,000 California jobs by the end of May, more than half the tourism industry's workforce.
Projections for the economic effects from the pandemic solely on Los Angeles County tourism were not provided.
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According to the tourism board, in order to ensure the tourism industry rebounds in Los Angeles, its members are working with Visit California on initiatives to "inspire community support and begin safe and responsible travel" when it is safe to do so.
Tourism supported 544,700 jobs in Los Angeles County's leisure and hospitality sector in 2019, employing one in every 8.4 workers in the county, and tourism added 8,200 new jobs last year, according to the board.
Also, the county's hotels set all-time highs in 2019 for room nights sold, and travelers generated a record $323 million in transient occupancy tax, or hotel tax, collection in the city of Los Angeles.