LOS ANGELES, May 7 (Xinhua) -- China was a key contributor to Los Angeles record tourism revenue in 2018, said a U.S. official following the release of a new report on economic impact of the county's tourism on Tuesday.
Visitors pumped an all-time high volume of 23.9 billion U.S. dollars directly into the economy of the Los Angeles County on the U.S. west coast in 2018, generating a record 36.6 billion dollars in total economic impact, according to the report released by the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.
"As our number one overseas international market, China once again played a significant role in achieving our eighth consecutive year of record tourism in Los Angeles with 1.2 million visitors who directly spent 1.6 billion dollars in our local economy," Ernest Wooden Jr., president and chief executive of the board, told Xinhua in a written answer.
Los Angeles welcomed 50 million visitors in 2018, setting records with 42.5 million domestic visitors and 7.5 million international visitors. Visitor spending in 2018 was 1.2 billion dollars higher than 2017's total, up by 5 percent.
The number of Chinese visitors in 2018 was up 6.9 percent from 2017. It's the largest net gain among all international markets for Los Angeles. Chinese visitors also spent the most per capita while traveling in the United States last year.
"Looking ahead, we continue to seek new opportunities to grow our market share as our latest forecast indicated another strong year from China," Wooden noted.
"L.A. Tourism is continuing to invest more marketing resources in the China market than any other international country to ensure Los Angeles remains a premier destination for Chinese travelers," he added.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board has four offices in the Chinese mainland and is likely to open another office soon.
Tourism, one of the pillar industries in Los Angeles, supported 534,258 jobs in Los Angeles County's leisure and hospitality sector, its highest total on record, employing one in every 8.5 workers in the county. Reaffirming the strength of the sector, tourism added 9,700 new jobs last year, the organization reported.
"Tourism is an essential source of job creation and business activity across our region -- and it helps make Los Angeles a global city and a center of economic growth and prosperity," said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a press release.
"From surpassing 50 million annual visitors in 2018 to preparing to welcome the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, travel and tourism will continue to power our city to new heights," he said.