LA Convention Center expecting a big year

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(Photo: Los Angeles Convention Center)

(Photo: Los Angeles Convention Center)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – This year is expected to be one of the biggest for the L.A. Convention Center in decades, it was reported today.

The Convention Center has booked 29 conventions for 2014, surpassing last year’s 22 conventions at the facility, the Los Angeles Times reported. The events include 11 gatherings that are new to L.A.

“Los Angeles is hot right now,” Ernest Wooden Jr., president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, told The Times.

Hotels and restaurants should be able to cash in on the growth. Convention attendees in 2013 booked a combined 150,000 nights at local hotels –

and officials expect that to balloon to about 266,000 room nights this year, according to the newspaper

The surge mirrors the growth in tourism across the nation as the economy gains strength.

Los Angeles welcomed about 42 million visitors in 2013, marking the third consecutive year that the region has set a new record for tourists, according to the Tourism & Convention Board. That helps pump some big money into the economy. For instance, tourism in Los Angeles County brought in $16.5 billion in direct spending in 2012, with a total economic benefit of $30.5 billion, according to the tourism board. It has not yet calculated the spending totals for 2013.

The number of visitors is only expected to grow, prompting a spree of hotel construction near downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles has 10 new hotels that are scheduled to be completed this year, including a 393-room Marriott hotel project with a Residence Inn, the first extended-stay hotel in downtown L.A.

An additional 25 hotels, including the 900-room Wilshire Grand project, are in various stages of planning and are expected to bring nearly 5,000 new rooms to the city by 2017, according to the tourism board.

 

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