Since Mayor Bloomberg took office New York City's tourism industry has boomed—a record-breaking 50 million visitors are expected this year—but what do we do if the bubble bursts? Mayor Bloomberg isn't really worried. When New York Magazine asked hizzoner if the city's tourism boom "can be sustained on momentum alone," the billionaire from Boston reportedly smiled and told them, "My job is to sustain it for the next 781 days." After that, it just isn't his problem.

To Bloomberg, tourism is a golden goose that keeps giving. So much so that, according to Comptroller John Liu, we even let some of the gold stay on the table. The Comptroller says that over the past decade the Bloomberg administration "initially failed to collect a total of $8.9 million from 92 hotels and hostels over the last decade—and that does not include fines or interest." But so what? "In this recession, the country lost 6 percent of private-sector jobs and got about a quarter back," Bloomberg said. "New York City lost 0.3 percent and got them all back. Why? Because we have the option to use tourism to replace growth." And replace we have! Thanks to the surprisingly wide-reach of Bloomberg pet NYC & Company (which, despite not being a city agency is now deeply tied into local government), New York is now fully-branded with a NYC logo and advertising campaigns designed for specific locales around the world.

For now the branding, mixed with carefully calibrated commercial enterprises, seems to be working. For example, take the massive influx of Brazilian tourists that have been hitting our streets the last few years. They didn't just show up here by accident!

As their economy grew like never before, middle-class Brazilians abandoned traditional vacation destinations like Argentina for New York. NYC & Company quickly influenced American Airlines to create discount fares. After observing the Brazilians’ consumer behavior and realizing they are disproportionately taken with Broadway theater, NYC & Company sent five musicals to São Paulo. “Nobody’s paying for anything—AA is flying them in,” says Fertitta, practically giddy. Between 2009 and 2010 alone, the number of Brazilian tourists in the city increased by an incredible 77 percent. And the typical Brazilian drops $415 a day here, about double the international average.

But all that money isn't necessarily here to stay, despite the fact that our tourism industry is now the city's fifth-largest, employing 320,000 thousand people. Though so far we've been able to keep finding new folks to pull into town to spend cash (i.e. the Brazlians have replaced the Irish), if the world economy keeps sliding, we may soon run out of international suckers. And considering how much more they spend here than American tourists, that could be crushing: In 2010 the 39 million domestic tourists stayed an average of 2.7 nights and spent an average of $432. International tourists, on the other hand, stayed an average of 7.3 nights and spent an average of $1,700.