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Service Workers and Tourism

Jobs from the region's upcoming tourism site expansions and special events

Photograph by Ashwini Chaudhary (Monty) “Room cleaning items in hallway” Published on January 28, 2020 on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Photograph by Ashwini Chaudhary (Monty) “Room cleaning items in hallway,” from

Los Angeles is one of the nation’s foremost tourism destinations, with 46 million total travelers visiting and spending more than $34 billion annually,1 with 2.75 million of these tourists visiting from overseas.2  The region’s collection of natural amenities, museums, cultural institutions, concert venues, entertainment districts, theme parks, sports stadiums, and multi-cultural neighborhoods combine to attract this tourism spending.  Additionally, they are the setting for launching global trends, new fashions and internet memes created locally by Los Angeles cultural economy.

As several of Los Angeles’ tourism venues and related infrastructure currently undergo expansion, in part to help host upcoming events like the FIFA World Cup (2026), the NFL Super Bowl (2027) and Summer Olympics (2028), policy makers need insights about the volumes, flows and beneficiaries of tourism dollars. The service workers of Los Angeles’ tourism industries are crucial to its functioning, and thereby the region’s overall wellbeing. But many in the tourism workforce live on low wages with limited hours and benefits. The Economic Roundtable proposes to provide actionable information for boosting revenues from tourism-related service industries, as well as wages and benefits for its workforce, by answering the following Important questions for elected officials, unions and advocacy groups:

  1. Where do the Los Angeles region’s current tourism dollars flow, broken out by industry sectors, occupations, wages and benefits, sales and transient occupancy taxes?
  2. What geographic clusters of commercial business, such as hotels and restaurants support the region’s tourism sector?
  3. What are the local economic impacts of each of major Los Angeles’ current tourism sites and major events?
  4. Who are the workers that enable these tourism activities, and what neighborhoods do they bring their wages home to?
  5. How much will tourism spending increase during upcoming events like the FIFA World Cup (2026), the NFL Super Bowl (2027) and Summer Olympics (2028)3? And will the beneficiaries change?
  6. For the upcoming Olympic sports event venues, what jobs and wages will be created, and where will wages be brought home?
  7. What are the sociodemographic characteristics of workers in Los Angeles’ different tourism-related service industries, including gender, race, nativity and primary language?

Some noteworthy Los Angeles tourism and entertainment venue expansions for study include:

L.A. Convention Center makeover: In light of the potential $4.78 billion City investment (bonds plus debt) in the Los Angeles Convention Center4, and two decades of hotel construction and redevelopment, how has convention-driven tourism changed? The Economic Roundtable 2006 report, “From the Pockets of Strangers,” studied the economic impacts of Los Angeles’ tourism sector then, comparing Los Angeles to other major US metropolitan destinations. Twenty years later, the Economic Roundtable will answer:

  1. How has the Los Angeles tourism sector changed and grown amidst rising number of visitors, especially the portion linked to conventions versus other types of tourism?
  2. How many short- and long-term Los Angeles Convention Center jobs will be added, given plans to add “190,000 square feet of additional exhibit hall space, 55,000 square feet of additional meeting room space, and 95,000 square feet of multipurpose space”?
  3. How much has Los Angeles’ hotel capacity increased, both unionized and non-union?
  4. How much are online-marketed, short-term rental properties now competing with the Los Angeles-area hotels, and how many housing units are being subtracted from Los Angeles’ long-term rental housing market (rent stabilized or otherwise)?
Photograph by Frames For Your Heart, "White metal frame with glass windows." Interior shot of the Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, United States. Published on September 9, 2020 to Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Photograph by Frames For Your Heart, “White metal frame with glass windows,” from

Disneyland Expansion: In Spring 2024, the City of Anaheim approved revised zoning and an expanded Disneyland theme park footprint. Currently the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions is negotiating better working conditions and benefits this year for existing Disneyland workers, the Economic Roundtable proposes to analyze the types of jobs, their wages, their skills and the number of workers that will be required for Disneyland’s sizable expansion. Issues include:

    1. Updating and expanding upon our “Working for the Mouse” (2018) report, analyze the cities and communities where Disneyland employees spend their discretionary income, including sales tax contributions.
    2. How might these economic impacts grow with Disneyland’s planned expansion?
    3. What equitable wages and benefits should Disneyland offer for the jobs required to expand and update its attractions?
    4. Worker equity for cast members:
      • Have wages kept up with inflation?
      • How much of the paycheck is left for other necessities after paying for rent?
      • What is the ratio of CEO pay to cast member pay?
      • How many workers get full-time jobs and how many are limited to part-time hours?
      • What kind of injuries do workers experience on the job?
An artist's conception of the Disneyland Forward expansion on the west side of Disneyland ResortDisney

An artist’s conception of the Disneyland Forward expansion on the west side of Disneyland Resort


  1. Discover Los Angeles “Los Angeles Tourism Unveils Record-Breaking 8-Figure Investment…“, Feb 3, 2024.
  2. Rachel Chang, “The 9 Most Visited Cities in the US,” Condé Nast Traveler, December 19, 2023
  3. The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and USA, from mid-June to mid-July, with eight matches in 70,000 capacity SoFi Inglewood Stadium. The NFL’s Super Bowl LXI will be held February 2027, in SoFi Inglewood Stadium. The 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games will be held Friday, Jul 14 – Sunday, July 30, at multiple sites around the region.
  4.  Dakota Smith, “Massive makeover of L.A. Convention Center moves ahead as Olympics loom,” Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2024.