Even Hurricane Sandy couldn't slow New York City's tourism boom. Mayor Bloomberg and NYC & Company announced today that the Big Apple had a record 52 million visitors in 2012—up 2.1 percent from last year's record breaking numbers. Even better, all those tourists brought billions of bucks to town!
According to the city, visitors "generated an estimated $55.3 billion in economic impact to the city’s economy, with direct spending reaching $36.9 billion." According to the mayor, the city is "well on our way to achieving our new goal of 55 million visitors and $70 billion in economic impact by 2015." So much for our tourism bubble bursting, eh? And just think, tourism is only the fifth largest industry in the city, according to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel.
So who came to town? Well, we had an estimated 41 million domestic visitors and 11 million international ones. Between them they bought a record 29 million hotel room nights—worth half a billion in hotel tax revenue. So it is understandable that the number of active hotel rooms in town expanded to 91,500 this year. Meanwhile, some of the "emerging tourism markets" we've been actively courted for the past few years have seen some incredible growth. Since 2006 the number of tourists coming from Brazil, China, Argentina and Australia have gone up 447 percent, 442 percent, 258 percent, 157 percent, respectively.
So are we the number one tourist destination in the country? Probably. But just to be generous Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want to get into a bickering match with Orlando, which also likes to claim that title. "Eh, go to Orlando, it's a wonderful place," Hizzoner said at a press conference announcing the tourism numbers today. "We're in competition for the repeat business and I think New York has a very different experience than Orlando," adding that NYC is not Disneyland or Disney World.