NYC Tourist Numbers Reach Record Highs

February 2, 2015 | Christopher Inoa

The number of tourists visiting New York City reached a record high last year with 56.4 million people visiting the city, up from its previous record of 54.3 million in 2013. Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio increased spending on tourism promotion, and is considering doing so again this year, the New York Times reports.

The influx of tourists in 2014 generated about $61.3 billion, which sounds like an impressive number but is “far from the pace needed to reach its goal of $70 billion annually in 2015.” NYC & Company, the agency in charge of the city’s promotion, attributes the gap in changes in the global economy. However, organization head Fred Dixon is hopeful that growth will continue. He points out one market, in particular:

Now, with the dollar’s rebound diluting some of the buying power of foreign currencies, city officials are banking on drawing more visitors from less-tapped sources, especially China.

City officials estimate that more than 740,000 visitors came from China in 2014, almost five times as many as in 2009. China passed France last year to move into fourth place as a source of foreign tourists, behind Britain, Canada and Brazil, tourism officials said.

Dixon also notes that Chinese citizens can now enjoy a 10-year stay over one year thanks to a recent change in visas. According to him, Chinese tourists will be a “higher-spending, longer-staying, upper-middle-class and luxury market.”

(Photo: Brandon Watts)