NYC & Company, the city’s tourism and marketing agency, announced on Wednesday that the number of visitors to the city rose to a record high of 65.2 million in 2018, as the New York Times first reported. This is a notable jump up from 2017’s 61.4 million and the ninth straight annual increase. Most visitors still come from within the United States, but the number of tourists from China saw an uptick from 1.04 million in 2017 to 1.1 million. The agency was expecting an overall drop in tourism numbers, and particularly from China, due to President Donald Trump’s trade battle with the country and “America First” rhetoric, but the industry continues to thrive in the president’s hometown.
China was the second-leading source of foreign tourists to the city, just ahead of Canada (1 million), and behind Britain (1.24 million), according to the agency’s data. “We embrace diversity and are welcoming to all,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “And the more than 65 million visitors to our city were able to experience that firsthand.”
Fred Dixon, the chief executive of NYC & Company, is expecting another increase in 2019 to at least 67 million visitors. Dixon cited the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and the WorldPride celebration taking place in June as major events that will draw large crowds.
In addition, Dixon noted the city is entering a new marketing partnership with Mastercard, which will replace American Express as NYC & Company’s preferred method of payment. As the agency’s biggest corporate partnership to date, Mastercard plans to promote special offers throughout the city for the company’s two billion cardholders.
Cheryl Guerin, an executive vice president of Mastercard, told the Times that possible marketing campaigns include dinners cooked by celebrity chefs in iconic NYC venues and early access to annual events in the city, including Restaurant Week and Broadway Week.
As 6sqft previously reported, international visitors play a huge role in the city’s economy, making up 20 percent of total tourists, but account for more than 50 percent of spending, each forking over $2,000 each on average. Tourists spent an estimated $44 billion in 2018.
Amidst the current hotel building boom, there are now about 119,000 available rooms in the city. In 2018, the city sold a record 37.7 million overnight stays, which generated more than $620 million in taxes for the city, according to the Times.
[Via NY Times]