LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southern California’s tourism industry is booming, shown in part by the 70.7 million passengers that passed through Los Angeles International Airport in 2014, making it the nation’s second-busiest airport, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Tuesday.

According to airport officials, LAX ranked as the nation’s third-busiest in 2013, behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Chicago O’Hare International. The Atlanta airport is the busiest in the world.

LAX had 66.7 million passengers pass through its gates in 2013. The airport also processed 1.9 million tons of cargo and handled 614,917 landings and takeoffs.

Speaking at a news conference at LAX, Garcetti also said four new boarding gates are now operational at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, making a total of 12 new gates in service. Construction is continuing on six more.

The booming numbers at LAX isn’t the only evidence of the increased tourism to Southern California. Los Angeles alone has seen four straight years of record-breaking numbers in tourism, Garcetti said.

“We’re effectively the eastern capitol of the Pacific Rim. The northern capitol of Latin America,” Garcetti said.

A study says 43 million people made Los Angeles their destination in 2014 — up from the height of the Great Recession in 2009, when 34 million people visited the City of Angels.

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