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As China Reopens, Tourists Expected To Flock Back To LA

A newlywed couple from Beijing, China, pose for wedding photos with a man dressed up as Edward Scissorhands on Hollywood Boulevard. The woman is wearing a white wedding dress and the man is wearing a dark suit.
Chinese tourism to L.A. plummeted during the pandemic but is expected to top half a million in 2023.
(Mark Ralston
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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Topline:

Chinese tourism to Los Angeles plummeted during the pandemic. But the local tourism industry is bullish on the China market since Beijing lifted quarantine requirements earlier this month. The L.A. Tourism and Convention Board projects that Chinese travelers to L.A. will exceed 570,000 in 2023.

Why this matters: In 2019, nearly 1.2 million Chinese travelers visited L.A., contributing an estimated $3.3 billion to the local economy that year, according to the tourism board. Much of that revenue dried up during the pandemic. In 2022, the number of Chinese visitors had dipped to 140,000.

The backstory: In recent years, China has become the largest overseas market for L.A., with the number of Chinese visitors exceeding 1 million for the first time in 2016. The tourism board has invested in four satellite offices in China, in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The tourism board's president and CEO Adam Burke says Chinese travelers have been historically drawn to the area's beaches, theme parks and hiking trails but are also increasingly exploring L.A. neighborhood by neighborhood.

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What's next: Lunar New Year celebrations begin Jan. 23 — an opportune time for Chinese globetrotters to venture abroad again. Air China has announced that it will return to daily service between Beijing and Los Angeles at the end of this month.

An earlier version of this story using information from the tourism bureau erroneously said L.A. saw more than 1 million Chinese visitors for the first time in 2018.