The Los Angeles region's economy is expected to lose some $13 billion in revenue this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles region's economy, which gets a big boost from visitors to landmarks from Disneyland to Hollywood, is expected to lose some $13 billion in revenue this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ernie Wooden, CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, spoke to ABC7 via Skype about the impact the closures have had on the local economy and what the hopes are for getting back to normal.
Wooden said the LA area saw a record level of tourism in 2019, with more than 51 million visitors, spending more than $27 billion. That translates to an impact of more than $37 billion on the county's economy.
But because of restrictions on activities and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the region expects to see a drop in visitors of 22 million this year, costing the county economy about $13 billion.
It could take several years to return to 2019 levels, he said.
One of the final steps to fall back into place will be large gatherings, such as conventions, sporting events and concerts. Depending on the scientific community's progress with vaccines, that could take more than a year, he said.
"What would be critically important for us in the tourism industry is that happens safely and that consumer confidence is there for it to happen successfully," he said.