A record number of tourists visited New York in 2015, a phenomenon reported today by the Times but undoubtedly noticed by anyone who felt smothered by human bodies desperately trying to find a way to Williamsburg on the F train. And it appears it won't be any easier to walk through Times Square in 2016, with the city forecasting 59.7 million visitors this year, all of whom can be spotted clumping on the sidewalk near one of Lonely Planet's starred brunch spots.
In 2015, according to NYC's official tourism-marketing agency NYC & Company, the city saw a record total of 58.3 million visitors. That number is expected to uptick about 2.4 percent this year, with 920,000 visitors forecasted to flood in from China. Maybe they'll stick around and buy a beautiful Trump Tower apartment while they're here.
Tourism, of course, is good for the economy, since out-of-towners eat at restaurants, stay at hotels, pay the $25 "suggested" admission at the Met, and fork over tips to costumed Disney characters even when they try to kick their children. But the city spends a lot of money to get these tourists here, and the Times says the Mayor's office will pay NYC & Company over $18 million to sell the Big Apple to travelers. And though Manhattan used to be the main draw, the city's trying to get visitors to crowd boroughs like Brooklyn and newly-tourist popular Queens, which is good news for all those upcoming Bushwick hotels but bad news for wait times at Roberta's.
Note that the city's goal is to get 67 million tourists here annually by 2021, which will correlate nicely with 2020's projected population of 8,550,971 New Yorkers. Few things inspire global empathy like suffocating on the subway in tandem, after all.