Nearly one million people work in California’s travel industry, a record high that surpasses the pre-recession peak, according to a new study.

Total employment in the wide-ranging travel field hit 956,800 last year, according to the report commissioned by the California Travel & Tourism Commission. That tops the 928,800 who worked in the industry in 2008 just as the last recession was taking hold.

The industry grew 3.2% last year, generating $109.6 billion in spending in the fourth straight year of expansion.

Travel spending in Los Angeles County hit $23 billion, according to the report from the marketing and research firm of Dean Runyan Associates of Portland, Ore. That was second to the San Francisco Bay Area, which had at $26.8 billion.

“California tourism is on the rise, and that means new potential for creating jobs and increasing economic impact throughout the state,” said Caroline Beteta, chief executive of Visit California, a nonprofit group that promotes travel to the state.

Spending on travel — including hotels, transportation, restaurants and amusement parks — generated $2.8 billion in local taxes and $4.3 billion in state taxes last year, the report said.

The tourism board pointed to the higher tax revenue as a reason the state should spend more to promote California to tourists across the country and the world.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

(c)2014 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Photo Credit: A crowd of visitors entering and exiting the entrance of the Legoland California theme park located in San Diego, California. Getty Images