For the third year in a row, Los Angeles County set a record for tourists; this year 42.2 million people visited greater L.A.
The number reflects an increase of 1.9 percent from 2012, which itself saw an increase of 2.5 percent from 2011. International visitors are a big part of the jump, especially Asian tourists. The Los Angeles tourism board recently opened a second office in China to encourage more travel; there was a 21 percent increase in Chinese tourists from 2012. Numerous direct flights are available between China and Los Angeles via multiple carriers, and LAX officials spent billions last year to upgrade their international terminal.
Tourism, along with the TV, movie, and commercial industry, is one of L.A.'s biggest economic generators, pumping the city and environs with $30.5 billion in spending and investment. Read more here.
Greater L.A. is benefiting from a historic drop in crime and numerous gentrifying districts, especially Hollywood and Downtown. A new--and free--modern art museum, The Broad, opens later this year near the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. Meanwhile, Pasadena and Long Beach, nearby cities connected to Los Angeles via light-rail, were just named two of America's gayest cities by The Advocate.