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L.A. rises to No. 2 destination in U.S. for overseas visitors

L.A. had a 33% increase in the coveted bigger-spending travelers last year compared with 2009, putting it ahead of Miami and behind New York.

May 25, 2011|By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles has overtaken Miami as the U.S. city with the second-highest number of overseas visitors, behind only New York.

The latest statistics from the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries show Los Angeles had a 33% increase in overseas visitors in 2010 compared with 2009. The number of such visitors to Miami increased 17% in the same period.

Overseas visitors are highly coveted in the tourism industry because they tend to stay longer and spend more. The average overseas visitor to California spends about $1,166 per trip, compared with a visitor from Mexico who spends $909 per visit, according to the California Travel & Tourism Commission.

Los Angeles hosted 3.3 million overseas visitors last year, compared with New York's 8.5 million and Miami's 3.1 million, the federal agency said in a report released Monday. Orlando, Fla., had 2.7 million, and San Francisco came in fifth, with 2.6 million.

As a state, California ranked third with 5.6 million overseas visitors in 2010, behind New York with 8.6 million and Florida with 5.8 million, according to the federal agency.

In a separate report, the travel and tourism industries office said international travel to the U.S. was on the rebound and predicted it would grow 49% by 2016, with the greatest rate of growth coming from China.

In 2016, the agency expects about 2.7 million Chinese tourists to visit the U.S., a 232% increase over the 802,000 Chinese visitors last year. Other countries that will generate huge increases in visitors to the U.S. include Brazil, Australia and South Korea, according to the federal agency.

Still, the largest share of visitors to the U.S. will come from Canada and Mexico, with a combined 14.7 million visitors by 2016.

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