New York City Tourism at Record High, Despite Recession

January 5, 2011 Updated: January 6, 2011

A view of the Manhattan Skyline with the Empire State Building in the center, taken from the observation deck at Rockefeller Center on August 24, 2010 in New York City.  (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A view of the Manhattan Skyline with the Empire State Building in the center, taken from the observation deck at Rockefeller Center on August 24, 2010 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK—New York City is more popular than ever as a tourist destination. Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta announced the good news on Tuesday at a press conference held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The mayor released the staggering statistics of the record number of tourists that visited the Big Apple in 2010, and the record income the city made from the tourism industry.

New York City received 48.7 million visitors in 2010, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2009. The city received 39 million visitors from the United States and 9.7 million from abroad, both are records.

“The industry employed more New Yorkers in 2010 than ever before, and the $31 billion visitors spent this year supported our restaurants, shops, hotels, and cultural institutions,” stated the mayor in a press release.

“This past year was New York City’s most successful year for tourism ever, and we’re well on our way to achieving our goal of attracting 50 million visitors a year,” said Mayor Bloomberg. The goal of 50 million visitors per year was set by the Bloomberg administration in 2007, hoping to achieve the goal by 2012.

The hospitality industry also grew in strides in 2010, adding 6,600 new jobs. The highest number of hospitality jobs is held during the summer months, in July 2010 there were 323,200 people working in the industry. The average number of jobs throughout the year was 315,000.

HOT COMMODITY: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced New York City's 2009 record-breaking tourism numbers on Tuesday at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. NYC saw more than 48 million visitors last year.  (Phoebe Zheng/The Epoch Times)
HOT COMMODITY: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced New York City's 2009 record-breaking tourism numbers on Tuesday at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. NYC saw more than 48 million visitors last year. (Phoebe Zheng/The Epoch Times)
The city got nearly 7,000 new hotel rooms in 2009, a 7 percent increase over the previous year. There were 25.7 million room-nights sold in the city last year, exceeding the previous high by 2 million. Average daily room rates rose to $330 in December 2010, an 8.9 percent increase over 2010.

The city’s nonprofit cultural organizations reported an average attendance increase of 5 percent, generating $18 billion in estimated economic activity from tourism. Attendance at Broadway theaters also saw increases, with over 7.55 million so far this season, an increase of 3.8 percent from this time last year.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and Brooklyn Botanic Garden President Scot Medbury joined Mayor Bloomberg at the announcement on Tuesday.

“New York City’s banner year for tourism is due in no small part to Brooklyn’s own success as the destination of choice for millions of visitors from across the globe,” said Borough President Markowitz. “Brooklyn is ‘proud host to everyone from everywhere,’ with our unique cultural attractions, hot music scene, historic, hip, and diverse neighborhoods, boutique and budget-minded hotels, amazing restaurants, great shopping, and of course, world-class wonders like Prospect Park, Coney Island, and the spectacular new Brooklyn Bridge Park. I like to say that Brooklyn has it all, but if visitors want to take a day trip to Manhattan, that’s ok, too – and judging by these record numbers, a lot of them do!”

This article has been updated to reflect the correct year of the study, which is 2010.