These are good times for Anaheim, which received a $4.2 billion face-lift that transformed its core into the Anaheim Resort, the name of the newly landscaped district encompassing the convention center and Disney attractions.

The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau released figures showing that 40 million people visited Orange County in 2000, spending a record $6.5 billion, a 9.3% increase over 1999.

Of that 40 million, 23 million were overnight visitors.

This year, tourism officials are expecting even more growth due to the developments in Anaheim and elsewhere in the county.

"The projections are that we should be getting an additional 7 million visitors this year," said a bureau spokeswoman.

The bureau said Anaheim hotels reported an increase in average daily room rate and occupancy this January over last.

This January, hotel occupancy was 61.2%, and the average room rate was $98.25. That compares favorably with January 2000, when occupancy was 52.5% and the average rate was $90.70.

The two major developments in the county driving the increase in visitation are Disney's new California Adventure and the redesigned and expanded Anaheim Convention Center.

The hotels in Orange County, with 47,000 rooms, are reaping the benefits. Hotel occupancy was 72% in 2000, representing a 3.8% increase from 1999.

There are several new hotel developments in Orange County in addition to Disney's Grand Californian, a 751-room property in Disney's Cali- fornia Adven- ture park. They include:

  • The Anabella Hotel, which opened in Anaheim on March 1. The 360-room hotel is directly across from Disney's California Adventure. It offers kid's suites and private bungalows.
  • The Portofino Inn & Suites, which opened last fall near the corner of Harbor and Katella in Anaheim. Formerly the towers section of the Jolly Roger, the hotel has 90 rooms and 100 suites. Half of the suites are kid's suites.
  • The Anaheim Marriott Suites, scheduled to open this summer in Garden Grove. The hotel, with 371 suites, will feature an outdoor pool, health club and game room.
  • Also opening this summer, the Embassy Suites-Anaheim. The property will have 375 two-room suites.
  • Overlooking the Pacific, the St. Regis Monarch Beach, scheduled to open in Dana Point in August. The seven-story hotel will feature 400 rooms, including 74 suites, a spa and an 18-hole oceanfront golf course.
  • The convention and visitors bureau is sponsoring fam trips this fall for agents interested in viewing the area and seeing the new developments. These include palm-lined boulevards with 15,000 trees and shrubs along promenades that make up the Anaheim Resort.

    For more details, click on the Travel Professional section of www.anaheimoc.org or call (714) 765-8668.

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