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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023


Tourism activity was lackluster in the San Fernando Valley during the first part of the year, but it now appears to be picking up, as seen by a jump in the hotel occupancy rate. Occupancy increased to 78 percent in July, up from 73.4 percent in June, according to the latest figures by PKF Consulting. Meanwhile, the average room rate held steady at better than $107. One potential complication this month could be Hurricane Floyd. Area hotels report some cancellations as a result of the massive storm on the East Coast. “The problem is, a lot of airports have closed (as a result of the hurricane),” said Laura Hontas, sales and marketing director for the Sheraton Universal Hotel. “Some of the people are staying on, but we’ve had a lot of people cancel due to the weather.” Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., credited a booming economy and surge in intrastate travel with the improvement in hotel occupancy. According to the state Department of Trade and Commerce, 84 percent of the overnight visitors coming to L.A. are from other areas of state. “People fly down from the Bay Area on the weekends, hang out in L.A. and take in the sights. It’s a getaway,” Kyser said. In addition, travel from Europe is holding steady, and area hotels and entertainment attractions are beginning to see a slight recovery in Asian tourism as well, Kyser said. Hontas said the Sheraton Universal had a particularly strong August, with the hotel seeing a surge in leisure travelers visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, which opened its “Terminator 2:3D” attraction earlier this summer. Universal is coming off a slow year, as are all Southern California theme parks. In 1998, Universal saw attendance drop to 5.1 million people a 5 percent decline from 1997, according to Amusement Business Magazine, a theme park trade publication. Most Southern California parks struggled in 1998 because of rainy El Nino weather and the Asian economic turmoil, which devalued Asian currency and slowed tourist travel from that part of the world.

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