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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The city of Los Angeles set new records for tourism and for passengers arriving at Los Angeles International Airport in 2014, reaching levels that were hailed by the mayor as crucial to the region's economy.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said 43.4 million tourists visited Los Angeles in 2014, marking the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking tourism for America's second-largest city.
More than 70 million passengers were estimated to have traveled through LAX last year, another record for one of the world's busiest airports, according to the mayor.
"The continuing, record-breaking growth and strength of tourism in Los Angeles is a shining light for our economy, creating good-paying jobs for our families, benefiting local businesses, and generating significant revenue for the city that goes toward the public services our city needs," Garcetti said in a statement.
"Angelenos should be proud that our great city is such a desired tourist destination for visitors from across the U.S. and around the world," he said.
Garcetti said that in 2014 Los Angeles also set records for its highest number of international visitors, at 6.5 million; hotel occupancy rate, at 79 percent; and most room nights sold, at 28.04 million, an increase of 3.2 percent compared to 2013.
The records were announced amid a multi-billion-dollar modernization program to improve international and domestic terminals, airfield, utilities plant, roadways and other facilities at LAX.
According to the mayor's office, LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world and third in the United States, with 692 daily nonstop flights to 85 cities in the United States and 928 weekly nonstop flights to 67 cities in 34 countries on 62 commercial air carriers.
The airport also ranks 14th in the world and fifth in the United States in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 1.9 million tons of air cargo valued at more than $91.6 billion.
Tourists come to Los Angeles and its vicinity to see Hollywood, Disneyland, the Universal Studios theme park, the Getty Museum, beach communities including Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach and other attractions.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Will Dunham