Sure, the Midwestern tourist behind the wheel of that rental car might be tapping the brakes every 500 feet, but tourism is an unstoppable force in Los Angeles.
So before you yell, "Cheesehead go home," consider the handsome local investment that such people make every time they land at LAX and head for the sunscreen section of the nearest newsstand.
The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board announced this week that 2015 was another record year for tourism.
It counted 45.6 million visitors worth $20.6 billion to the local economy. L.A. tourism is good for more than one-fifth of tourism spending in the Golden State, the board said in a statement.
There were 8.8 million domestic visitors, 23.4 million domestic overnight visitors and 6.8 million foreign visitors, the board said.
There were 45,000 more Chinese visitors and 13,000 more South Korean visitors compared with the previous year, tourism officials said.
But when it comes to tourism, cash is king.
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"Direct visitor spending increased 4.9 percent from the previous year, generating $31.6 billion in total economic impact including the induced and indirect benefits," the board stated. "Tourism in L.A. County generated $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenues in 2015, representing 20 percent of all state tax revenue collected from tourism in California."
And tourism is one of the biggest employers in town. The sector helped add 21,500 new jobs in 2015 for a total of 488,100 tourism-related jobs in L.A.
"Tourism isn't just thriving in Los Angeles, it's powering an economic resurgence that touches every corner of our city," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "And the 2015 numbers once again show the power of this sector to support good-paying jobs every year for hundreds of thousands of Angelenos who work hard to make Los Angeles the best place in the world to visit."
So try to be nice, eh?