The city logged another record-breaking year for tourism in 2012, with 52 million visitors helping to create $55.3 billion in economic impact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday.
The new record – made up of 41 million domestic and 11 million international visitors – reflected a 2.1 percent increase over 2011, achieved despite the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.
“New York City continues to attract people from all around the world who want to experience our unique culture, food, parks, shopping, arts and energy,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who made the announcement at the American Museum of Natural History. “The tourism industry is thriving, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers at all rungs of the economic ladder. We are well on our way to achieving our new goal of 55 million visitors and $70 billion in economic impact by 2015.”
Recent booms in tourism and the impacts on the commercial real estate market are being felt across the city, as new hotels pop up, throngs of foreign retailers stream in, and prime retail corridors expand.
With the continued increase in visitation, New York City’s hotel room inventory continues to expand – with 91,500 active rooms that are 87 percent occupied, also the highest in the nation.
New York City sold a record 29 million hotel room nights and generated a record $504 million in hotel tax revenue, with the hospitality industry across all five boroughs now employing 356,000 New Yorkers, according to a statement from the Mayor’s office.
The city’s share of overseas visitors coming to the U.S. has increased from 28 to 33 percent since 2006, when the Mayor created a new municipal marketing model by merging NYC & Company with the city’s marketing and big events groups, the statement said.
As reported in-depth by The Commercial Observer, in part due to the boom in tourism, prime retail corridors are expanding, as the invisible boundary lines that once separated high- and low-end sections of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Greenwich Village and other retail corridors throughout the city disappear.
A number of cultural and governmental authorities chimed in on the new feat in the statement from the Mayor’s office:
“Tourism is the City’s fifth largest industry and continues to generate record numbers of visitors, spending, jobs and hotel tax revenue,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel. “Through NYC & Company’s strategic presence in 18 global markets, the city is able to attract visitors in markets where the potential for growth is strongest. We will continue to support a targeted approach and invest in markets that will yield the greatest return.”
“NYC & Company’s diversification in its international markets around the globe has led to a 18 percent growth in the City’s overseas market share – from 28 to 33 percent,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “For 2013, we have already identified markets with strong future potential and are ramping up our efforts to ensure New York City is their top of mind destination.”
“It’s gratifying that the city continues to attract more visitors each year, impacting every segment of our $55.3 billion tourism industry, from hotels, restaurants and retailers to Broadway, performing arts and culture. On behalf of all of NYC & Company’s 2,000 members, we look forward to working together to ensure the City maintains its position as the number one big city destination in the U.S.,” said Emily Rafferty, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and chairman of NYC & Company’s Board of Directors.
“New York City’s Museums and cultural institutions are known throughout the world for our collections, our research and our galleries,” said Ellen Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History. “The Mayor and NYC & Company are making sure that our international – and national – reputations not only stay intact, but are extended to new geographic regions and new generations.”