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Tourism in Los Angeles is having a very good week

January 12, 2017, 11:30 AM · More people than ever are visiting Los Angeles and major new attractions are coming to the city. In a press conference at The Three Broomsticks inside Universal Studios Hollywood's Wizarding World of Harry Potter yesterday, Los Angeles Major Eric Garcetti announced that the city welcomed a record number of visitors last year, as a record number of people passed through the LAX airport, as well.

Earlier this week, filmmaker George Lucas announced that he has selected Los Angeles to host the billion-dollar art museum that he's been wanting to build. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which will include Lucas' collection of works by Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, and R. Crumb, as well as props, artwork, and memorabilia from Lucas' films, including Star Wars, as well as from other famous Hollywood productions. The museum will be built next to the Coliseum in Exposition Park, just south of downtown LA.

And today, the National Football League's Chargers announced that they will relocate to the Los Angeles area, leaving San Diego to play their home games at the StubHub Center in Carson for the next two years, before moving into the new $2.66 billion stadium that the Rams are building in Inglewood.

Los Angeles welcomed 47.3 million visitors in 2016 — an increase of nearly four percent over 2015, according to data from Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board that Garcetti cited. That's the sixth consecutive year that Los Angeles has set a visitation record, moving the city closer to the major's goal of welcoming 50 million visitors a year by 2020. In addition, 80.9 million travelers passed through LAX in 2016, an increase of more than eight percent over the previous year.

Universal Studios Hollywood is helping to drive that growth, with record-setting daily attendance levels over the holidays, as well as an annual attendance record last year.

"With Comcast NBCUniversal's unprecedented $1.5 billion investment in the company's core businesses of production and tourism, Universal Studios Hollywood has achieved record-breaking attendance, created thousands of jobs and had a positive impact on the region's economy," Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, said.

In addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new Nintendo-themed land is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood sometime after mid-2020, Universal has announced. The theme park is expanding into former studio space on the Lower Lot following the almost complete rebuild of the Upper Lot, including the new Springfield and Despicable Me areas, in addition to the new Universal Boulevard, central plaza, and The Walking Dead Attraction.

Theme park fans should keep in mind that the LA visitation data is just for the city, and does not include people coming to the area to visit Disneyland (which is located in Anaheim in Orange County, southeast of Los Angeles), if they don't fly through LAX or otherwise stay overnight in the city of Los Angeles. Throw in the Orange County and greater Los Angeles County visitation numbers, and the Southern California region welcomes tens of millions more visitors than just the city of LA each year.

Replies (7)

January 12, 2017 at 11:47 AM · As a displaced son of Orange County, I'm happy to hear business is booming! As one who is seriously considering moving back to Orange County, it worries me. More people? More traffic? Higher housing prices? How will I survive?! :-)
January 12, 2017 at 12:52 PM · Housing and rent prices throughout Southern California are insane, unless you are moving from Northern California, or apparently, China. High housing prices are the number one thing holding back job investment in the area. No one can bring people in from outside, since they can't afford to buy a house. If you want to add an on-site job here, you'd better be hiring a local.

Traffic depends upon where you live relative to where you are going, of course. I stay off the freeways at rush hour and encounter very little traffic otherwise, as I pretty much keep to my neighborhood unless I am going to a park.

January 12, 2017 at 5:06 PM · I'm glad that Universal is doing well and is expanding, but I'm wondering how much they can expand? With California being so expensive and movie production being done elsewhere, could they tear down some sound stages in the lower lot to expand the theme park? In other words, is Universal's long term future to be primarily a theme park or movie studio?
January 13, 2017 at 11:36 AM · I distrust the location of George Lucas' new museum. It's in a rough neighborhood even if it's next to USC. Some USC students were shot there. I suggest they do a security zone like Disneyland to protect the visitors.

As for the Chargers, no one cares if they come or go unlike the Rams. The only question is why? I suggest the Chargers get together with the Angels to build a suitable stadium. They both need something better.

January 14, 2017 at 9:32 AM · LA needs a subway system like New York City's. Traffic issues solved.
January 14, 2017 at 11:52 AM · @Disfan, I think they are going for the long term theme park. Other places like Georgia and Toronto are proving to be way cheaper to film in and just as adequate. Other than the scenes for the tram, I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of the sound stages get taken down or re-used for theme park attractions.
January 16, 2017 at 10:47 AM · I sincerely hope that USH has plans to build Diagon Alley very soon! Love Hogsmeade and Hogwarts but we need more than 2 rides in WWHP. :) Then USH will really see an increase in attendance.

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