City Expects to Welcome 50.2 Million Visitors by the End of 2011, Breaking Record One Year Ahead of Schedule

City to Generate a Record $32 Billion in Visitor Spending and $48 Billion in Economic Impact by Year’s End

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company Board of Directors Chair and Metropolitan Museum of Art President Emily Rafferty today announced that New York City will reach 50.2 million visitors by the end of 2011, achieving the goal of attracting 50 million visitors by 2012 one full year ahead of schedule. Throughout 2011, the City maintained its position as the number one city destination and overseas destination in the United States. In recognition of this achievement, Mayor Bloomberg today presented the Johnson family from Lichfield, England with a “golden ticket” to New York City and named them the honorary 50 millionth visitors to New York City. The announcement was made in iconic Times Square – the crossroads of the world – as video screens flashed “50 million” and more than 100 members of the tourism industry joined to celebrate the historic moment. Mayor Bloomberg was also joined by New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council President Peter Ward and members of the City’s tourism industry.

“Five and half years ago, we set an ambitious goal to reach 50 million visitors by 2015, and in 2008, we accelerated that goal to be the end of 2012,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Today, we know that we will exceed this significant milestone by year’s end.  New York City’s quality of life has contributed to this great success and we are confident we will sustain the success of our tourism industry in the months and years ahead.”

NYC & Company forecasts the City will attract a record-breaking 10.1 million international visitors in 2011, a 4 percent increase over 2010. The United Kingdom, which is home to the Johnson family, is the top market of origin for overseas visitors with more than 1 million visitors expected by the end of 2011 – a two percent increase. The City also expects to attract a record-breaking 40.1 million domestic visitors – 2.9 percent more than last year. New York City is also on track to generate $32 billion in visitor spending, $48 billion in economic impact and contribute to approximately 320,000 jobs across the five boroughs.  The City remains the number one U.S. city destination for tourism spending.

New York City continues to hold its position as the number one port of entry for the U.S. and the number one U.S. destination for overseas travel with approximately one out of every three visitors to the U.S. visiting the five boroughs. Since 2006, New York City has continued to increase its market share for all inbound international travel to the U.S. growing from a 28 percent market share to a nearly 33 percent market share for 2010. Each additional share point captured by New York City accounts for approximately $600 million dollars in spending to the five boroughs.  
“Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, tourism has become one of New York’s most important economic engines,” Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel said. “Tourism brings visitors, investment – and most importantly, jobs – to neighborhoods in all five boroughs.”

“We’re thrilled to reach Mayor Bloomberg’s tourism goal one year ahead of schedule.  Our diverse cultural organizations throughout all five boroughs contribute so much to the continued success of our tourism industry.  We look forward to building on this milestone in the years ahead and inviting even more visitors from around the globe to experience the energy and excitement of New York City,” said Emily Rafferty, Chairman of NYC & Company and President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Achieving Mayor Bloomberg’s goal of attracting 50 million visitors one year early is a huge milestone and a very proud moment for NYC & Company as an organization,” said NYC & Company CEO, George Fertitta. “Without the Mayor’s vision and support, and with the partnership of our more than 2,000 members across the City’s tourism industry, this moment would not be possible. We have promoted New York City as a destination for all ages and interests that offers a new and different experience with every visit. As we continue to promote this message, we expect 2012 to also be a record-breaking year, and we look forward to building on our success to develop new initiatives that leverage the diversity, magnetism and vibrancy of the City to grow tourism across all five boroughs.”  

“On behalf of the many thousand men and women working in New York City’s hotel industry, I would like to congratulate Mayor Bloomberg, George Fertitta and the NYC & Company team on this great accomplishment,” said New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council President Peter Ward. “With 25.8 million room nights sold in 2010, New York City has once again proven to be a place people from around the world aspire to visit. Of course, we will remain dedicated to providing world-class service and an unmatched visitor experience – as we set our sights on filling every single one of the 90,000 rooms across the five boroughs on a daily basis.”

“We are thrilled to be in New York City with our closest friends and family celebrating our marriage,” said newlyweds Craig and Lucy Johnson. “We traveled to New York City for the first time 10 years ago and it has always been our dream to return.  We can't wait to experience a Broadway show, see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, do some holiday shopping and much more. We thank Mayor Bloomberg and NYC & Company for selecting us to represent the 50 million visitors who came to New York City this year and for making this an unforgettable trip for our family.”

During the Times Square event, and surrounded by members of the tourism industry including the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, the Radio City Rockettes and dozens of members of the City’s tourism industry, the Johnson family was presented with the “Golden Ticket to New York City,” and a once-in-a lifetime experience made possible by NYC & Company, its partners and members. American Express, a longtime supporter of New York City and NYC & Company, as well as a Founding Sponsor of NYC Restaurant Week, has provided the family with a $10,000 American Express Gift Card. American Express is also partnering with NYC & Company to give away 50 $25 American Express Gift Cards via Twitter through New Year’s Eve. To learn more, find NYC & Company on Facebook  and follow @nycgo on Twitter. To encourage the family to return again in 2012, NYC & Company hospitality partner, Travelocity, and the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, have offered the Johnsons a travel package to New York City in 2012 valued at $10,000.

During their trip to New York City, the family will be given $1,000 gift cards from NYC & Company members and retailers Bloomingdale’s, Century 21, FAO Schwarz, J&R Music and Computer World, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue; $400 dining gift cards to BR Guest Restaurants, Tribeca Grill and Union Square Hospitality Group and; tickets to the Tony-award winning Broadway show Memphis and tickets to Radio City Music Hall (MSG) for the 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  

Craig Johnson, a self-employed carpenter and Lucy Foulger Johnson, a homemaker, live in Lichfield England, near Birmingham, and have traveled to New York City to hold their wedding ceremony at Top of the Rock on Tuesday, which will be planned by NYC & Company member Ultimate USA Weddings. The Johnsons first visited New York City 10 years ago and, for this visit, are joined by members of their family including their children Grace, three years old, and Thomas, one year old, to celebrate their wedding.  The Johnsons are visiting New York City through December 22.

To mark the occasion, signs across Times Square carried the message of the 50 million visitor milestone.  Participating screens included: 1515 Broadway (SL Green Realty Corporation & Orange Barrel Media), American Eagle Times Square Spectacular, the Clear Channel Spectacolor screen at 1560 Broadway, Hard Rock Cafe New York, NASDAQ and Reuters screens (Times Square2, A Reuters/NASDAQ Alliance), the Walgreens Times Square Spectacular and the Toshiba Vision Sign.   

By year’s end, New York City will be home to more than 90,000 hotel rooms throughout all five boroughs, a 24 percent increase since 2006.  The City is also on track to sell a record 27 million hotel room nights, 4.5 percent more than 2010, when NYC sold 25.8 million room nights. NYC & Company plans to build on its overseas tourism growth in 2012, a market that makes up 20 percent of total visitors, but 50 percent of total visitor spending. The organization has plans to launch new tourism development initiatives in North America, including Mexico and Canada.

NYC & Company has also expanded its efforts to promote New York City as a destination for meetings, incentive travel, tradeshows and major events.  The organization has sales offices covering Washington DC, the West Coast and Midwest regions, as well as in the UK. New York City hosts nearly four million convention delegates annually and convention travel to the City accounts for approximately one third of all business travel generating almost $3 billion in directing spending and $5 billion in economic impact.  Overall, attendance at the annual tradeshows is up this year, with many experiencing record-breaking attendance despite the national trend. 

In June of 2006 Mayor Bloomberg created the new NYC & Company, merging the existing NYC & Company with NYC Big Events and NYC Marketing to create the world’s leading municipal marketing organization. Since that time, NYC & Company has created programs and partnerships with community groups and public and private partners including American Express, American Airlines, Travelocity and Google to maximize tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, build economic prosperity and promote New York City as one of the world’s premier destinations.  In 2007, NYC & Company created the City’s first-ever global brand campaign, “This is New York City.”   Also in 2007, NYC & Company launched the “Just Ask the Locals” campaign, the City’s first welcome and thank-you campaign targeting visitors.  Other key campaigns include Get More NYC, Nine in ’09, Go Local, NYC I DO, Broadway Week, Off-Broadway Week and the Signature Collection.  The organization has also continued to grow major initiatives such as NYC Restaurant Week, Fashion’s Night Out and NYC Mayor’s Cup.  

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Contact:   Kimberly Spell/Tiffany Townsend     NYC & Company     212-484-1270