Record Year For Gotham Tourism
For the second year in a row, New York City has topped perennial tourism leaders Orlando and Las Vegas with an estimated 47 million visitors.
Foreign tourists, who took advantage of the weak dollar and flocked to the city, accounted for most of the increase, with their numbers reaching nearly 10 million, about a million more than in the previous year, the mayor said. In all, he added, tourists spent a record $30 billion in New York City 2008. “While we can’t promise that we will hit another record next year,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “I do think we’ll continue to see a lot of tourists on our streets.” The news is, of course, welcome, given that the city is ailing badly from the effects of the global financial crisis, which has tumbled profits on Wall Street, New York’s main source of revenue. There are already some telling signs that less bountiful times loom. The hotel occupancy rate has declined to 85 percent, Mr. Bloomberg said, though it is still 20 percentage points higher than the national average.Less expensive destinations will benefit from the economic downturn, but NYC may still take the tourism title again in 2009.