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.

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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.

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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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