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Visiting Los Angeles

October 25, 2005

Los Angeles County is the second most popular tourist destination for international visitors to the U.S. and the fourth for domestic travelers, with more than 24 million visitors in 2004. A look at who comes to Los Angeles and what they do:

Where they are from

The U.S.: About 20 million of L.A. County's visitors in 2004 came from within the U.S., and 44% of the the leisure visitors in that group were from within California. The San Francisco Bay Area supplied the most, 14%. New York and Dallas each supplied about 3% of domestic leisure travelers, with Chicago supplying about 2%.

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Mexico: Most international travelers are from Mexico, about 1.5 million in 2004. Of those who travel by air, 41% say they're here for leisure and 32% for business. About 22% are here to visit family.

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Canada: Trailing at a distant second is Canada, with 419,000 visitors to L.A. in 2004, up

8% from 2003. In 2004, Canadian visitors added $215 million to the L.A. economy.

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Japan: In 2004, Japan ranked third, with 349,000 visitors, 36% here for leisure and 32% here for business. Eighty-six percent of them shopped, 56% went sightseeing and 16% visited family.

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Britain: L.A. had 340,000 British visitors in 2004, but the British want to see more than the City of Angels. Forty percent also went to Las Vegas, 37% went to San Francisco, 8% to Hawaii and 12% to New York. Only 13% were here for business.

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By the numbers

$12 billion: Estimated amount spent by visitors to Los Angeles in 2004

49%: Percentage of domestic travelers who drove to L.A. County in 2004

$518 million: Amount travelers from Mexico spent last year in L.A. County

13%: Percentage of Mexican visitors (who arrived by air) who said their trip to L.A. County in 2004 was their first time here

$102.44: Average cost of a hotel room in Los Angeles County, January to June 2005

21%: Percentage of domestic travel parties who spent more than $1,000 in 2004 on their visit to L.A. County

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What they did in 2004

Shopping: It's the single most common activity among tourists in Los Angeles, with 88% of international visitors going shopping and 32% of domestic visitors.

Dining out: Second most reported activity among overseas visitors. While 95% of the British ate out, only 75% of the South Koreans did so.

Amusement parks: Popular among foreign visitors at 45%. Only 18% of domestic travelers visited one.

Seeing family or friends: Nearly half, 44%, of domestic travelers said it was the primary reason for their trip to L.A. Among foreign travelers, 21% were here to visit family.

Business: Only 17% of domestic travelers came to L.A. for business and 6% for a convention, compared to 24% of international travel for business and 6% for conventions.

Nightlife: Not so popular. Only 10% of domestic and 14% of international travelers reported going to a nightclub or dancing while in L.A.

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2004 Visitor profiles

Average age

International: 41.6

Domestic: 43.7

Average household income

International: $87,500

Domestic: $85,300

Average travel party size

International: 3.6

Domestic: 1.8

Per person/per day spending

International: $92

Domestic: $124

Average number of days in L.A. County

International: 6.8

Domestic: 3.8

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Sources: U.S. Commerce Department's International Trade Administration, Office of Travel and Tourism; CIC Research; L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau; Smith Travel Research; Los Angeles World Airports. Graphics reporting by Scott Wilson and John Jackson.

Recent regional explainer graphics are available at latimes.com/localgraphics

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