NEW YORK – A record 46 million tourists visited New York in 2007, in a sign of the city’s dramatic recovery from the aftermath of the September 11 attacks six years ago, according to estimates unveiled Sunday.
The record figures included 8.5 million foreign visitors, who together with domestic tourists pumped some US$28 billion into the local economy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced.
“This incredible surge puts us well on our way to reaching our goal of drawing 50 million annual visitors by the year 2015,” Bloomberg said.
“It’s helping to bolster our local businesses even as the economy is slowing down nationwide,” he added.
George Fertitta, head of NYC & Company, which markets the city as a tourist destination, said much of the boost in tourist numbers was due to the US dollar being near historic lows against the euro and British pound.
“By focusing on the international market, we’re also capitalising on beneficial exchange rates that make New York such incredible value. We are very, very grateful for the weak dollar,” he told reporters.
British tourists continued to account for the largest group of foreign visitors, with 1.4 million arrivals last year.
By comparison the city welcomed 880,000 tourists from neighbouring Canada and just under 500,000 from Germany.
The city saw tourist numbers fall to 35.3 million in 2002, the year after the September 11 attacks, since when tourist numbers have been on a steady rise, reaching an estimated 43.8 million in 2006.