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L.A.'s Hotel Room Rate Up 6.2% in February


The average cost for a hotel room in Los Angeles County rose in February, continuing steady growth in hotel rates over the last several months--a trend local tourism officials say indicates that demand to visit the region remains strong.

The average price for an overnight stay jumped to $116.67, up 6.2% from $109.89 in February 1998, according to figures compiled by PKF Consulting, which tracks the local hospitality industry.

At the same time, occupancy at county hotels rose to nearly 78% in February--a 1.5 percentage point increase over the same month last year and a sign that business and leisure travelers are still flocking to the region despite higher hotel costs, said Michael Collins, executive vice president for the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.

February marked the fifth straight month that hotel rates have surpassed the year-ago prices by at least 5%. Collins called February's rate increase very promising, but said it's too early to tell if the travel market will continue to sustain such jumps in the months ahead.

"I think we need to get a couple more months under our belts to see where this is going," he said.

Despite global financial turmoil, particularly in Asia, business and leisure travel to the Los Angeles area has been robust during the last two years given the strength of the U.S. economy.

February was a particularly busy month for hotels, Collins said, as Los Angeles hosted five major conventions.

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