LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles’ economy continued to surge in 2016, breaking all-time records for tourism, travelers at LAX, and cargo volume shipped through the Port of Los Angeles.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the new records today at Universal Studios Hollywood’s “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” alongside Councilmember Paul Krekorian, and leaders from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Los Angeles World Airports, and the Port of Los Angeles.
“This is L.A.’s moment. Los Angeles is welcoming more visitors to our city and passengers through our airport than ever before, our nation-leading Port is making L.A. an even more critical trade gateway to the world, and we are experiencing the kind of job growth that we haven’t seen in a generation,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We’re working hard to keep up the momentum, by going after and landing one-of-a-kind attractions like the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. And here’s the best part: there’s even more opportunity on the horizon, and an even bigger role for L.A. to play on the world stage.”
According to the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the city welcomed 47.3 million visitors in 2016 — an increase of nearly 4 percent over 2015. It marked the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism growth, and moved L.A. closer to Mayor Garcetti’s goal of welcoming 50 million visitors a year by 2020.
“Los Angeles continues to establish itself as one of the most desirable destinations in the world for tourists and business people alike,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance, and Job Creation committees. “Whether it’s the sunny beaches and scenic landscape, our diverse communities and cuisines, our rapidly growing technology sector or the lure of movie magic as the global entertainment capital, Los Angeles has something to offer everyone who visits. We’re making tremendous investments into LA’s future to ensure it grows into an even greater metropolis that is transit and business friendly, on the cutting edge of innovation and an unparalleled hub of diversity.”
“Global desire for the Los Angeles experience is at an all-time high and we are humbled to welcome a record 47.3 million visitors,” said Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “There’s never been a better time to discover Los Angeles and we invite travelers from across the globe to immerse themselves in our thriving culinary scene, unparalleled cultural experiences and celebrated only-in-L.A. attractions.”
LAX also broke its record for total number of passengers for the third consecutive year. In 2016, 80.9 million travelers passed through the airport, an increase of more than 8 percent over last year. Of those travelers, 22.6 million — or more than 28 percent — were international.
“We are creating an airport experience that makes a great first and last impression of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “Our focus is on delivering a gold-standard airport that shines with the top-rated airports around the world, by transforming LAX with a $14 billion investment that will bring it into the modern era for today’s traveler.”
The Port of Los Angeles broke a record of its own, moving more cargo in 2016 than ever in its 100-year history. The Port shipped 8.8 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) last year, the most ever by a port in the Western Hemisphere.
“I salute the strong collaboration among the labor workforce, our terminals and the many stakeholders in the supply chain who kept cargo moving speedily and efficiently during a record-breaking year,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “To handle this much volume without congestion issues is an extraordinary accomplishment and bodes well for the future of the San Pedro Bay complex.”
The records come amid an unprecedented period of growth across L.A.’s economy. Since Mayor Garcetti took office in 2013, the City has created more than 140,000 new jobs, cut the unemployment rate in half, and permitted more than 150,000 new businesses. The economy has come all the way back from the Great Recession, and L.A. now has more jobs than it did at the peak before the civil unrest of 1992.
The City has also added numerous high-profile attractions in recent years. Just yesterday, Mayor Garcetti announced that Los Angeles has been chosen as home the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — adding another cultural treasure to L.A.’s collection of renowned civic institutions. In addition, the tourism sector has benefited from new investments in attractions like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood.
“With Comcast NBCUniversal’s unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in the company’s core businesses of production and tourism, Universal Studios Hollywood has achieved record-breaking attendance, created thousands of jobs and had a positive impact on the region’s economy,” said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal.
“The ambitious Epic Transformation of our property has had a remarkable effect on our theme park, and as a major entertainment destination we are thrilled that Universal Studios Hollywood has played such a significant role in driving global tourism to Southern California,” said Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “With the popularity of such signature attractions as our behind-the-scenes Studio Tour and ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,’ Universal Studios Hollywood makes the elusive world of movie-making magic accessible to our guests and it’s our pleasure to invite them to peek behind the velvet curtain for these truly authentic experiences.”