10 January 2011

Record numbers of Australians take up US ESTA to visit Los Angeles

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Some 25.7 million people visited Los Angeles last year, up from 23.8 million in 2009, the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau (LA Inc) have announced.


Australians were the largest group of overseas visitors to LA, new figures show.

Among last year's total, 5.5 million were foreign tourists, up 20.7 from that of 2009, while the number of domestic travellers also increased 5 per cent year on year.

The figures are a good indication that local tourism is rebounding from the recession caused by economic downturn, bureau authorities said.

The number of tourists from China increased 80 per cent, South Koreans 54 per cent and Japanese 25 per cent and for the first time Australians formed the largest group of last year's international visitors due to new and expanded airline routes.

Australia, Japan and South Korea are all participant countries in the US Visa Waiver program, which means nationals can travel to the US with only a US ESTA that can be applied for online.

"Seeing such a positive surge in tourism from both Asia and Australia, we feel confident that tourism to L.A. will continue to grow," said Mark Liberman, president and CEO of LA Inc said.

Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as L.A. Inc, is a private non-profit business association that acts as the city's official tourism marketing agency.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  ESTA to the US Embassy.

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