By year's end, an estimated 50 million tourists will have visited NYC, according to the city's official tourism arm, NYC & Company. This achieves a goal set by Mayor Bloomberg of attracting 50 million visitors by 2012, one full year ahead of schedule. Everyone, it seems, loves New York: we're the number one city destination and overseas destination for tourist spending in the United States.
NYC & Company expects the City to attract a record-breaking 10.1 million international visitors in 2011, up 4 percent over 2010. The City also expects to attract a record-breaking 40.1 million domestic visitors, up 2.9 percent over last year. All of these warm bodies on holiday add up to a major engine of the economy: $32 billion in visitor spending last year, creating approximately 320,000 jobs across the five boroughs. Now, if only we can teach them to stay in their lanes and tipping is customary!
To publicize the milestone, NYC & Company chose one pair of lucky tourists to be the honorary 50 millionth visitor of the year. The winners are newlyweds Craig and Lucy Johnson from England; they were chosen in part because England sends the most tourists our way, and because the Johnsons first visited NYC ten years ago. Welcome, Johnsons.
The Johnsons were handsomely rewarded for agreeing to serve a publicity prop: they were given a "Golden Ticket to New York City," which included a $10,000 American Express Gift Card, $1,000 gift cards from Bloomingdale’s, Century 21, FAO Schwarz, Macy’s; and $400 dining gift cards to BR Guest Restaurants, Tribeca Grill and Union Square Hospitality Group. They also got tickets to the Broadway show Memphis, plus tickets to Radio City Music Hall. Bet you don't get that when you visit the boring Grand Canyon!