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Record 45.5M Tourists Visited Los Angeles Last Year

LOS ANGELES ( — A record-setting 45.5 million people visited Los Angeles last year, an increase of 1.3 million from the previous year, tourism officials announced Monday.

The 2015 figured marked the fifth consecutive year of tourism growth, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board officials.

The uptick was attributed to "investing billions at our airport, in mass transit, and other assets that are making L.A. more exciting and accessible than ever," Garcetti said.

Los Angeles International Airport, which is owned by the city of Los Angeles, is undergoing an $8.5 billion modernization project, while $5 billion in rail projects connecting to the airport are underway.

Garcetti has set a goal of increasing tourism to Los Angeles to 50 million people per year by 2020.

"Los Angeles is a place where the world comes together for cultural experiences and celebrated attractions that cannot be found anywhere else," he said.

International visitors made up 6.7 million of the overall visitors in 2015. Los Angeles was visited by 779,000 Chinese visitors, a 13 percent jump from 2014, while tourism from South Korea grew by 11 percent.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the Trade, Commerce and Technology Committee, said the 2015 numbers "demonstrate and confirm" that Los Angeles is "truly a global city."

"Last year's record-setting tourism numbers send a message to the world that L.A. is open for business, and I know that the world will respond in 2016 and in the years ahead," he said.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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