Today’s LA Times reports that tourism is surging from Australia to the LA area. (Full article on Page B1 of the Business section 1/5/11). Overall international traffic is up, but Australia edged past Britain to be the #1 source, after Mexico and Canada.
The article credits the strong Australian dollar, which makes travel to the USA cheaper. They also credit LA-specific factors, including Hollywood as a popular destination for the Aussies, as well as the good air connections via LAX. However, a quick search also indicated that San Francisco airport also enjoys great air connections with the “land down under.”
Interestingly, one of the Australians interviewed for the article mentioned that Australian wines in California were cheaper than they were at home. Since interest and production of wine is increasing in Australia, the Central Coast Wine Industry could become an interesting tourism activity for this group as well. Time for the local hospitality industry to put another shrimp on the barbie and stock up on the Vegemite.
Some other interesting take-aways from the article: overall tourism has rebounded to 2008 levels, though the mix has changed. After Australia, the next top counties (in order) were Britain, Japan, China, South Korea, France and Germany.