Last year, New York welcomed some 62.8 million tourists, according to the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the Big Apple's official tourism organisation, NYC & Company. The city saw a 2.3 million growth in tourist numbers, compared to the same period in 2016, that was one million more than originally forecast and a 3.8% increase on 2016.
It marked the eighth consecutive year of tourism growth for the city and a record-breaking year, despite the hotly debated immigration restrictions and President Donald Trump's travel ban. For 2018, NYC & Company expect tourism numbers to swell to 65.1 million.
The Company said that 79.1% of tourists came from within the US, the remainder of 13.1 million being international travellers, a record for NYC. The largest number of foreign visitors came from the United Kingdom, followed by China, which was in second position, and Canada ranked third.
NYC & Company had predicted a fall of around 300,000 visitors at the start of the tourism year, believing that foreign visitor numbers would be most affected by negative publicity. Back then, the organisation's president and chief exectuive, Fred Dixon, had said that the White House Administration's rhetoric over protectionism and Donald Trump's travel ban would change the way foreign visitors viewed the US, when deciding on their holiday destination.
By the third quarter of last year, the Company's president had to admit that tourism was beginning to pick up again in unexpectedly large numbers, and projections were increased for New York tourism. However, on a national level, the country experienced a 4% fall in foreign visitor numbers in the first six months of last year, according to data released by the Commerce Department.
Over the past twenty years, New York City's visitor numbers have nearly doubled. The tourism sector now provides a huge number of people with jobs, from working in a reastaurant or hotel to being a tour guide on one of the many tour buses or working in galleries and museums, retail outlets or at the airport. The real estate sector, both commercial and residential, took a dip in 2008 during the world-wide economic crisis, but is now once again robust.
The fastest growth of the job market is happening in four NYC boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. All of these boroughs saw a growth in tourist accommodation jobs. There are some 14,750 hotel employees in Queens alone, while Manhattan boasts only 8,324. The record number of tourists has provided these boroughs with a large intake of tourism revenue, making it possible to give each borough a much-needed face-lift. Improved earning potential and investment in infrastructure and housing means these markets are hotter than ever now for investors in New York real estate, both commercial and residential.