ANAHEIM ( — Thousands of tourists visiting Orange County for its beautiful beaches and (of course) Disneyland are helping to boost the local economy.

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Economist Skip Hull with CIC Research Inc. in San Diego said visitor spending in the OC increased 10 percent at the tail end of 2012.

In addition, forecasts show up to a 5 percent increase in growth for hotel occupancy, room rates, visitor spending, and airport passenger traffic in the new year, according to hospitality industry research firm, PFK Consulting.

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KCAL9’s Stacey Butler said the news couldn’t have come at a better time.

The leisure and hospitality business in the area was hit hard in 2009 when nearly 10,000 jobs were lost.

Butler said things started to change when Disneyland added the Cars Land exhibit and spent nearly $1 billion updating the California Adventure Park, which added 5,000 new jobs.

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Locals also helped the economy by flying out of John Wayne Airport.