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Travel to the Golden State bouncing back

November 16, 2010 |  3:56 pm

 Lagunabeachsunset The economy is still wobbly and the nation's high unemployment rates refuse to budge. But California's travel industry seems to be on the road to recovery.

Hotel occupancy in California was up 5.1% in September over the same month last year and remains up 5.9% through the year to date, according to a new report by the California Travel and Tourism Commission. The increase came from a sharp rise in visits from business and international travelers, the report said.

Hotel room rates were also up 3.1% in September, marking the  fourth consecutive month of increases, according to the report.

The report predicts overall visits to the state will be up 4% by the end of 2010 over last year, with the greatest increase coming from international visitors, particularly tourists from Asia.

Visits to California's Welcome Centers -- located near popular tourism attractions such as Pismo Beach and Pier 39 in San Francisco -- are also up 50% over last September, the report said.

But the commission warns that the pace of visitor growth may slow in the second half of the year as "the economic recovery slows and comparisons are against the relatively stronger half of 2009."

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Tide pools at Laguna Beach draw visitors. Credit: Los Angeles Times