Mayor Bloomberg Discusses Record-Breaking Year for the Tourism Industry in New York City in Weekly Radio Address

January 9, 2011

The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, January 9, 2011

“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

“Tourism is one of New York’s biggest industries. Out-of-town visitors to our city spend $31 billion a year – spending that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in our restaurants, shops, hotels, and cultural institutions. And any way that you look at it, 2010 was a year for the tourism record books in our city.

“Here’s what I mean. We estimate that last year we hosted nearly 48.7 million visitors – a new record, and a nearly 7 percent increase from 2009. That included 39 million visitors from the rest of the U.S., and roughly 9.7 million from abroad – both all-time highs, too. Last year, New York was the destination of an astonishing 33 percent of overseas visitors to the U.S., making us by far the most popular American destination for such visitors – who, incidentally on average spend 3 ½ times what domestic visitors do.  

“Our strong tourism industry is a major reason why New York City has weathered the national recession better than most other cities have, and why our economy is creating jobs at a rate faster than the nation as a whole. In fact, when final jobs figures for 2010 come in later this month, we expect they’ll show it was a record year for tourism-related employment in our city. We already know that in November more than 320,000 people had tourism-related jobs – an increase of 6,600 jobs from the previous year. During 2010, some 25.7 million hotel room nights were sold in our city – also a new record. Our hotels maintained an average room occupancy rate well above that in other major U.S. cities. And we did that even while we added a net of nearly 7,000 new hotel rooms in 2010, which was – you guessed it – a new one-year record in New York City.

“How were we able to set all these records only a year after a deep, global economic recession? Our well-deserved reputation as the nation’s safest big city certainly has a lot to do with it. So do our world-renowned cultural and entertainment venues. In surveys, nearly half of visitors say arts and culture are what bring them to New York. 2010 was a banner year for attendance at many museums and cultural venues. And Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters are putting up big attendance numbers this season, too.

“We’re also seeing the payoff from the imaginative and aggressive efforts of the City’s official tourism and marketing agency, NYC & Company. In recent years, they’ve mounted successful promotional campaigns – often in cooperation with major private sector companies like American Airlines, American Express, and AT&T – that have drawn visitors to New York from across the country and around the world.

“As good a year as 2010 was, we’re anticipating that 2011 will be even better – in large part because NYC & Company will step up its efforts to attract visitors from growth overseas markets.  That will keep us on course to hit our goal of hosting 50 million visitors by 2012 – and keep our economy on course to produce more new jobs for New Yorkers, too.

“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.  Thanks for listening.”

January 10, 2011

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