Record Number of Tourists Flocked to NYC This Year

NEW YORK (Reuters) -

More than 60 million tourists visited New York in 2016, the most ever, attracted by the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial and four-star restaurants.

The number of tourists from across the United States and around the world exceeded forecasts, city tourism officials said on Monday, and topped last year’s record by 1.8 million.

“The iconic attractions are always a big draw,” said Fred Dixon, president and chief executive of NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization. “These are the hallmarks of a New York City visit, especially for the first-time visitor.”

Many visitors are venturing out of Manhattan to the outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, in search of off-beat attractions and restaurants — trips that would have been inconceivable 40 years ago, when the city fell to a financial and crime-ridden nadir.

The allure of out-of-Manhattan experiences is reflected in hotel stays in the five boroughs, which grew by 1.2 million to 34.9 million room nights, another record.

About 80 percent of tourists in New York are from other parts of the U.S., according to the city, which tracks visitors who have traveled more than 50 miles.

Unsurprisingly, international tourists, estimated at more than 12 million this year, account for the biggest economic footprint. They contribute about half of hotel and direct spending.

Britain leads in foreign tourists visiting New York, but China is a close second, having overtaken Canada, which dropped to No. 3, followed by Brazil.