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New York City Marks Best-Ever Year For Tourism

Tourism Official: One In Three Visitors To The U.S. Came To New York
Tourists on the observation deck of the Empire State Building (file/credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Tourists on the observation deck of the Empire State Building (file/credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A record number of tourists visited New York City in 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday.

“We welcomed an all-time high of 52 million visitors,” Bloomberg said.

That translated to about $37 billion in direct spending by visitors, according to the city.

WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reports

The figure was better than the city had hoped for at the start of 2012.

“Hurricane Sandy didn’t hurt the numbers. The world economic problems in Europe, where a lot of our tourists come from, didn’t seem to hurt the numbers,” Bloomberg said. “This is the place where it’s happening.”

The number of visitors was up by a million in 2012, compared with 2011.

“It keeps us on course to hit our goal of hosting 55 million visitors by the year 2015,” said Bloomberg.

Mayor Bloomberg announcing 2012 tourism figures with the Radio City Rockettes (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

Mayor Bloomberg announcing 2012 tourism figures with the Radio City Rockettes (credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

The figures are based on a model that includes surveys, hotel data, airport information and other sources.

Business travelers and vacationers are included in the 52 million figure.

Bloomberg credited the city’s relatively low crime rate for the surge in visitors.

“New York has this reputation now of being the safest big city in America,” said the mayor.

The city’s official tourism branch, NYC & Co., has offices in 18 countries including Australia, China and Sweden. NYC & Co. CEO George Fertitta said that has paid off.

“Literally one-third of all overseas visitors to the United States comes to New York City,” said Fertitta. “We’re the world’s most aspirational destination.”

In October, the city opened a tourism office and launched a tourism campaign in Mexico City.

Tourism is the city’s fifth-largest industry, according to the city. The tourism industry across the five boroughs employs 356,000 people.

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