Spurred by the weak dollar, a record-breaking 46 million tourists are estimated to have flocked to New York last year, pumping a projected $28 billion into the local economy.
The number of tourists is up 5% versus figures from 2006, when nearly 44 million visitors traveled to New York and spent about $25 billion.
Visitors from abroad jumped by nearly 20% in 2007, with an estimated 8.5 million tourists hailing from foreign countries.
During his weekly radio address, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday said that tourism dollars impact every sector of the city's economy, and said the crime rate in "the nation's safest big city" will spur tourism in future years.
"Who can blame so many people for wanting to visit New York? Especially since our neighborhoods are cleaner and safer than ever before," he said, according to prepared remarks.
The city is aiming to attract 50 million tourists annually by 2015. It has opened tourism offices in Asia, South America, and Europe, and has launched advertising campaigns abroad.
The deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, Robert Lieber, said yesterday that an investment in the city's cultural institutions, New York's restaurants, a marketing effort abroad, and the value of the dollar are contributing to the tourism boom.
Mr. Lieber offered some straightforward advice for visitors touching down in the city: "Go spend money. Drive the local economy."
Britain, Canada, and Germany are the top three tourism markets for the city, with an estimated 1.46 million tourists coming to New York from Britain in 2007. An estimated 880,000 visited from Canada, and 470,000 visited from Germany, according to a forecast by the city's marketing and tourism organization, NYC & Co.
The favorable exchange rate for British travelers is driving the number of tourists from Britain, and officials are anticipating an increase in travel bookings in 2008, the report said.
NYC & Co. opened nine new offices overseas last year and launched a tourist appreciation campaign called "Just Ask the Locals," promoting tips for travelers by celebrities such as actor Robert DeNiro and a former Giants running back, Tiki Barber, among others.
"Tourism is one of our biggest industries, so next time you hear someone asking for 'Hew-ston' Street or puzzling over the fact that Manhattan Beach is actually in Brooklyn, why not point them in the right direction?" Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
"You'll be doing a service to our visitors, and also to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers whose jobs depend on those visitors," he said.
Visitors from every country tracked in the forecast report rose this year with the exception of Japan, where the number of tourists was projected to have fallen to 260,000 in 2007 from 275,000 in 2006. In 2000, 410,000 visitors traveled to New York from Japan.
In 2007, an estimated 22.88 million hotel rooms were sold, setting a new record over the 22.38 million sold in 2006. The average daily room rate was $295.