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California tourism expected to rise in 2010 and 2011

May 7, 2010 |  2:17 pm
Tourists in HollywoodAfter a steep drop in visitors last year, California tourism officials predicted Friday that the Golden State will enjoy a nearly 3% increase in tourists in 2010 followed by a 4% jump in 2011.

Not only will more tourists visit California but they will spend about 5% more in 2010, reversing the tight spending habits during the economic downturn of the last year or so, said Caroline Beteta, chief executive of the California Travel & Tourism Commission.

"It’s been tough," she said of the economic slump. "But we really expect to take off by 2011."

Beteta attributed the expected increases to pent-up demand to travel and improved consumer confidence in the economy.

A big share of that increase in visitors is expected to come from abroad, particularly Australia, China and South Korea, which recently was added to a U.S. government program that will allow South Koreans to visit this country for up to 90 days without a visa, according to tourism officials.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Visitors tour Hollywood on a Starline Tours bus. Credit: Los Angeles Times