Los Angeles International Airport

By Dan Weikel
January 6, 2015

Local tourism in 2014 set its fourth record in as many years, city officials announced Tuesday, and Los Angeles International Airport exceeded its 14-year-old peak for airline travel and is now the nation’s second-busiest airport.

The airport handled more than 70 million passengers last year, far surpassing a record of 67.3 million travelers set in 2000, according to economic data released at a news conference at LAX.

The number of visitors to L.A. rose to 43.4 million, a significant gain over previous years including 2009 when visitors dropped to 34.4 million during the recession. And even more travelers are expected in the year ahead.

“The city has set a goal of 50 million visitors a year; we are well on our way to meet that goal,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “This means billions of dollars injected into our economy. Los Angeles is serious about being the destination for people to visit in the US.”

The increase in tourism is reflected in the city’s hotel occupancy rates, which rose from the previous record of 75.1% in 2006 to about 79% last year.

Tourism in Los Angeles supported an estimated 442,000 jobs across the region and generated $184.4 million in hotel taxes for Los Angeles during fiscal 2013-14, officials said.

At LAX, which was hit hard when travel declined after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the recession, the number of airline passengers had plummeted roughly 18% to about 55 million by 2003. After a tepid recovery, the economic downturn reduced the volume to 56.5 million.

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