Big Apple tourism is booming


New York City drew 8.75 per cent more tourists in the first half of this year versus a year-ago, with international travel rebounding the most, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials said on Wednesday.

The city expects about 47.5 million visitors by the end of this year, which would be a 4.5-per-cent increase from 2009 and set a record. The previous high, 47 million, occurred in 2008.

Though the city’s hoteliers have added rooms at a fairly rapid pace, the average occupancy rate rose 6.8 per cent in the first half of the year versus a year ago, and Broadway theatres sold more than six million tickets in the same period — up 3.7 per cent, the officials said.

Employment in the city’s leisure and hospitality sector grew to a total of 320,000 people, and hotel tax revenue climbed 25 per cent to $178 million US, officials said. Tourism is New York’s fifth-largest industry.

Bloomberg issued the new data while unveiling a $1.2-billion-US upgrade of Delta Air Lines facilities at Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.