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Tourism Survey

New York tops tourism survey  Jul 28, 2008

The influx of international visitors lured by favorable exchange rates due to the slumping U.S. dollar pushed New York City to the top spot in the country for total tourism spending in 2007, according to a comprehensive study.

In its listing of the top 100 U.S. tourism city destinations, Massachusetts economic forecasting firm Global Insight points out that foreign visitors boosted tourism at a time when the U.S. economy began to weaken.

New York gained 1.5 million international visitors and increased its share of foreign tourists by 3.3 percent to top the list, moving up three spots from 2006.

Houston, meanwhile, slipped one spot to No. 15. Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas maintained its No. 13 ranking, followed by San Antonio (24); Austin (40); Fort Worth-Arlington (75) and Corpus Christi (86).

Combined, the top 100 cities grew overall tourism spending by a solid 8.7 percent in 2007, led by the top three cities — New York, Orlando and Las Vegas — which saw a combined 12 percent increase, topping $100 billion in total spending, or six times the average of the top 100 cities.

The rankings also examined how critical tourism is to jobs in each city. Orlando and Las Vegas top the ranking of tourism’s percentage of total private employment in their local region, at 2.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Houston, still known more as the energy capital of the country with a diverse economy, has a tourism job percentage ranked near the bottom of the listing at 0.2 percent. Dallas has 0.3 percent; San Antonio has 0.8 percent, Austin has 0.4 percent and Fort Worth-Arlington has 0.2 percent.

Another critical statistic used in the rankings is the number of visitors required to support a job in a city. Honolulu, for example, needs only 20 visitors to support a job, while Miami needs 65 visitors. Houston needs 275 visitors to support a local job.

New York tops tourism survey

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