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The Kobe Bryant Hologram Loves Tourism And Is As Surreal As You Think It Is

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How do you announce Los Angeles hitting 50 million visitors in 2018? For Mayor Eric Garcetti and the L.A. tourism board, the answer is making Kobe into a hologram that really wants to talk with you about tourism.

The hologram of the Lakers great rises through the stage, gives a shoutout to the political dignitaries assembled to make the tourism announcement, and extolls the virtues of L.A.

"This right here... is a championship moment," the extremely scripted-sounding Kobe tells us. "And that's because this city is always innovating. I mean, check me out -- I'm a hologram!"

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He declares L.A. the sports capital of the world. Then he magically disappears in a glittery poof, because, why not?

The announcement was made as part of an L.A. tourism and hospitality gathering. The L.A. Tourism board plans to use the company that produced the Kobe hologram, VNTANA, for more immersive events throughout the year.

The city had been aiming to hit 50 million tourists by 2020, but managed to do it two years early. In a statement, the tourism board credits an increase in international capacity at LAX, almost 2,000 new hotel rooms, L.A. become more known for being "a hot culinary and cultural destination" -- and L.A. Tourism's own ad campaign.

The number of visitors was up 1.5 million from 2017. The two biggest cities for L.A. tourism were Mexico and China, according to the tourism board -- international visitors make up 7.5 million of the total, while 42.5 million were domestic.

Records were also set in L.A. visitors coming from Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Scandinavia, and India.

Watch a behind-the-scenes video showing how the Kobe hologram was created, including filming at Kobe's corporate offices last month: