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PR- 493-12
December 31, 2012

Despite Hurricane Sandy, 2012 Also a Record-Breaking Year for Tourism Spending and Overseas Visitors

City’s Tourism Industry Generated $55.3 Billion in Economic Impact and Employed 356,000 New Yorkers in the City’s Hospitality Sector Across All Five Boroughs

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta announced today that New York City welcomed a record 52 million visitors in 2012, a new all-time high and a 2.1 percent increase over 2011. Visitors to the city generated an estimated $55.3 billion in economic impact to the city’s economy, with direct spending reaching $36.9 billion. New York City continues to be the premier United States travel destination, with an overseas market share at a record high of 33 percent. In 2012, New York City welcomed an estimated 41 million domestic visitors and 11 million international visitors. In addition, New York City sold a record 29 million hotel room nights and generated a record $504 million in hotel tax revenue, and the overall hospitality industry across all five boroughs now employs 356,000 New Yorkers. In the tourism industry, average annual earnings are higher than $52,000 – roughly $7,000 more a year than average earnings in the entire local economy.  The Mayor made the announcement at the American Museum of Natural History, one of the city’s landmark cultural institutions and major tourist draws, and was joined byEllen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History, and the Rockettes, who will join the Mayor this evening in Times Square to lower the 2013 New Year’s Eve Ball.

“New York City continues to attract people from all around the world who want to experience our unique culture, food, parks, shopping, arts and energy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The tourism industry is thriving, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers at all rungs of the economic ladder. We are well on our way to achieving our new goal of 55 million visitors and $70 billion in economic impact by 2015.”

“Tourism is the City’s fifth largest industry and continues to generate record numbers of visitors, spending, jobs and hotel tax revenue,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “Through NYC & Company’s strategic presence in 18 global markets, the City is able to attract visitors in markets where the potential for growth is strongest. We will continue to support a targeted approach and invest in markets that will yield the greatest return.”

“NYC & Company’s diversification in its international markets around the globe has led to a 18 percent growth in the City’s overseas market share – from 28 to 33 percent,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “For 2013, we have already identified markets with strong future potential and are ramping up our efforts to ensure New York City is their top of mind destination.”

“It’s gratifying that the City continues to attract more visitors each year, impacting every segment of our $55.3 billion tourism industry, from hotels, restaurants and retailers to Broadway, performing arts and culture. On behalf of all of NYC & Company’s 2,000 members, we look forward to working together to ensure the City maintains its position as the number one big city destination in the U.S.,” said Emily Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Chairman of NYC & Company’s Board of Directors.

“New York City’s Museums and cultural institutions are known throughout the world for our collections, our research and our galleries,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History.  “The Mayor and NYC and Company are making sure that our international – and national – reputations not only stay intact, but are extended to new geographic regions and new generations.”

Since 2006, when the Mayor created a new municipal marketing model by merging NYC & Company with the City’s marketing and big events groups, New York City’s share of overseas visitors to the U.S. has increased from 28 to 33 percent. Each market share point represents an additional $750 million in direct spending by tourists in New York City. NYC & Company has been able to grow the City’s market share of international visitation by targeting non-traditional travel markets with strong economies and growing middle classes. International markets where NYC & Company has global outposts have yielded considerable returns in tourism growth, especially from emerging markets such as Brazil, China, Argentina and Australia, which have grown 447 percent, 442 percent, 258 percent, 157 percent, respectively, since 2006.

With the continued increase in visitation, New York City’s hotel room inventory continues to expand – with 91,500 active rooms. Even with the addition of new rooms, the city’s hotel occupancy remains strong at 87 percent, the highest in the nation.

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 46 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium. It is also home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd Governor and the nation’s 26th President, and a tribute to Roosevelt’s enduring legacy of conservation.


Marc LaVorgna/Julie Wood    (212) 788-2958

Kimberly Spell/Chris Heywood (NYC & Co.)    (212) 484-1270


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