G'Day LA: Tourism Soars With Help From Australia

In 2011, 383,000 Australians visited Los Angeles.

By SHIRAH MATSUZAWA
Updated 6:55 AM PDT, Thu, Jan 26, 2012

Getty Images / David McNew Los Angeles International Airport.

LA tourism numbers have been released, and once again Australia has hopped in as the front-runner in generating the most overseas visitors in Los Angeles.

In 2011, approximately 26.9 million people visited Los Angeles, surpassing the 2007 record of 25.9 million visitors, according to Carol Martinez, vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau. That's an increase of 4.2 percent from 2010.

"This has occurred for the past couple of years, but there are a number of reasons that make Los Angeles is an attractive destination for Australians. One, being the boost in business linkages," said the Australian Consul-General Chris De Cure.

De Cure also attributes the strength of the Australian dollar, the economy overseas, media attractions and the accessibility of flights from Australia to Los Angeles.

Australia now has more seat capacity for arriving flights than any overseas country.

"It's also relatively inexpensive and closer in proximity," said De Cure.

Last year, 383,000 Australians visited Los Angeles. However, the LA Convention and Visitors Bureau is predicting that visitors from mainland China may fly into the No. 1 spot soon enough.

"Mainland China had a significant 24 percent increase in comparison to last year. The challenge for them is visa issues, but the United States government is looking into it," said Martinez.

Despite the natural disasters that occurred in Japan in 2011, it was reported that there was a 5.5 percent increase in the number of individuals that traveled to Los Angeles.

"So many people work in visitor districts and 1 out of 10 in the hospitality and tourism industry," said Martinez. " We just hope to continue to grow."

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First Published: Jan 25, 2012 1:24 PM PDT

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