New York City tourism sees boost with record international visitors

The American economy might have had its ups and downs in recent years, but that hasn’t stopped citizens of other counties from coming to New York.

The city saw a record 11 million international visitors in 2012, a 52 percent increase in the last six years, according to the first official report on New York’s tourism industry released by NYC & Company Monday.

“Tourism’s robust growth since 2006 is no accident—it was the result of an innovative model and deliberate strategy to target emerging international markets and promote the diversity of tourism activities across all five boroughs,” said Emily Rafferty, chairman of NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing and tourism organization, in a statement.

Since 2006, 78,200 tourism jobs were added in the city, and the state Department of Labor has seen the leisure and hospitality as one of New York City’s top growth industries since 2011.

The report also notes a record 29 million hotel room-nights were sold in 2012 and 167 new hotels properties were added to the city in the last six years.

A record 24.5 million people attended the city’s cultural institutions, up by 30 percent in the same time period.

All these visitors resulted in $9.3 billion in taxes, including $3.3 billion city taxes.

NYC & Company credits the increase to the 2006 formation of the organization, which was created to merge key public and private players in the tourism industry to target international travelers and direct them to a wider variety of attractions in all five boroughs.

The city aims to increase the number of annual visitors by 5.8 percent in the next two years, to 55 million a year, and increase the tourism industry’s economic impact to $70 billion per year, according to the report.

The organization distributed the report to mayoral candidates with the hopes of increasing tourism even further—no matter who wins in November.

“The industry will be looking for continued investment and support from the next administration,” Rafferty said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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