A powerful engine that drives our local economy forward, L.A.’s tourism industry is thriving. We have experienced seven consecutive years of record visitation, welcoming more than 48.5 million people from around the globe in 2017.
Tourism’s positive impact on the L.A. County economy can’t be overstated. Last year alone, visitors to Los Angeles spent $23 billion in our area hotels, attractions, restaurants, retail outlets, generating nearly $35 billion in total economic impact countywide. This critical source of revenue funds community services we Angelenos depend on every day, creating 523,000 annual jobs and the households they support.
With Los Angeles’ emergence as one of the world’s premier travel destinations, our industry must be responsible stewards to ensure that tourism is sustainable and continues to deliver positive experiences for our visitors, residents, businesses and the communities where we live and serve.
We believe that mobility is one of the most critical components of sustainable tourism.
Millions of travelers (and especially international visitors) today already expect increased mobility options when visiting a destination. They demand an array of accessible, convenient and cost-effective choices to get around as they explore our diverse neighborhoods and unique L.A. experiences. To make it easier for our guests to visit the undiscovered and underserved parts of Los Angeles, it’s imperative our mobility options continually increase and expand.
With Los Angeles is primed to usher in a historic decade as host to the world’s biggest events including the 2022 Super Bowl, 2026 World Cup and 2028 Summer Olympic Games, the planning, enabling and promoting of innovative mobility solutions will be more important than ever before.
As of today, our city is firmly positioned to make tremendous leaps and bounds in mobility infrastructure as we prepare to welcome an influx of visitors from around the globe for these mega events. Crucial, ongoing investments like Measure M or the $14 billion modernization at LAX Airport are going to deliver a truly best-in-class visitor experience in the next decade and beyond.
Measure M is set to generate $120 billion over the 40 years to fund Metro’s ambitious plan to create one of the most advanced transit systems in the country. The expansion will double our region’s mass transit system with new rail lines and long-awaited extensions of existing lines. It will also deliver highway and local street improvements as well as more bicycle and pedestrian connections. It will power Mayor Garcetti’s “28 by 28,” the proposal to complete 28 major projects before the start of the 2028 Olympics.
Most importantly, it will be instrumental in building the Airport Rail Connector, a new multimodal transportation hub at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street which will link up to the Crenshaw line and Green line while directly connecting to the forthcoming Automated People Mover at LAX Airport. When it opens in 2023, the People Mover will move passengers with free, reliable access to all terminals and relieve traffic congestion.
Mobility has to be an ongoing, collaborative conversation involving key travel and tourism stakeholders, as well as thought leaders from both the private and public sectors. An ongoing investment in the continuing evolution of mobility will enable Los Angeles to continue to deliver a best-in-class visitor experience. Without a disciplined focus in this area, we could jeopardize the undeniable economic benefits that tourism provides to our community, as well as the significant momentum that we’ve gained in recent years.
A mobility renaissance in Los Angeles will not only elevate the visitor experience, but will also ensure the long-term sustainability of our tourism economy, and in turn, the countless livelihoods that depend on it.
Photo credits: Evan Romoff