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L.A. Hotels Keep Building On Tourism Boom

Yifan Zhu |
September 19, 2013 | 2:14 p.m. PDT

Guest Contributor

(Hotels on Hollywood Blvd/Flickr user vl8189)
(Hotels on Hollywood Blvd/Flickr user vl8189)
Los Angeles County hotels are poised to expand after seeing their highest occupancy rate in more than 25 years this summer despite climbing room rates. 

An average of 85.1 percent of all rooms in hotels across the county were booked in July, according to the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. Hotels near the airport area took the lead with an average occupancy rate of 91.8 percent, followed by Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey and Venice area.

Floods of visitors also pushed room rates up by three percent over the same period last year to about $140. 

The Board reported that the city welcomed more than 41 million people last year. This is a 20 percent jump from 2009, when the number of tourists in Hollywood bottomed out during the economic recession. 

The influx of visitors is in part credited to heavy media exposure of the destination, boosted by the Board's effort to raise people's awareness of the city's latest happenings, such as the opening of the Transformer Ride at Universal Studio, the New Tom Bradley international airport terminal and the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, the largest delegation of international attendees held to date by the city. 

"The leisure travel rate is growing faster than the business travel rate," said vice president of communications at L.A. Tourism and Convention Board.

To keep this momentum going, the hotel industry is racing to build more facilities to keep up with demand.

The third biggest employer in the county after government and heathcare sectors, the leisure and hospitality industry is expected to lead the gains in jobs this year with a 13-percent contribution, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation forecasts.

There are 25 new hotels under construction, or in their final planning stages in L.A., that wil add a total of around 5,000 rooms, increasing the current number five percent by 2017, according to LATCB.

"In order to get to 50 million visitors by 2020, we must have more hotel capacity to accommodate the increase in demand and can secure the larger conventions." said Matt Myerhoff, corporate communications manager at LATCB.

The Wilshire Grand Hotel, a 73-story tower that will be within walking distance of the Los Angeles Convention Center, is expected to attract more large conventions to downtown after its completion in 2017. The Ace Hotel, which will sit in the historic Theater District in downtown, aims to rejuvenate the neighborhood with its trendy appearance and services.

"If this year's target of drawing another million were met, it would be the third year the city broke its own record in visitation number," said Lomax.



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