Dollar weak enough to support exports:

NYC hits tourism record

by Samantha Gross

NEW YORK (AP) – With a falling dollar sweetening the deal for international travelers, a record-setting number of tourists visited
the city last year, spending an estimated $28 billion, tourism officials said Sunday.

With a final count still pending, the city’s tourism office said an estimated 46 million people had visited the city in 2007 — up 5
percent from 2006. The jump was largely due to visitors from other countries, who numbered an estimated 8.5 million — a growth of 17 percent.

George Fertitta, chief executive of city tourism office NYC & Company, said the visitors were drawn by more than a favorable exchange rate and the city’s international marketing efforts.

“The city is more vibrant, cleaner and safer — and it’s just more exciting than ever before,” he said.

The portion of the city’s tourists who were from other countries had dwindled since the Sept. 11 attacks, and last year’s growth returned the ratio to pre-2001 levels.

The city has been working to draw such international visitors, who stay longer and spend more money. NYC & Company has launched an overseas television, print and billboard campaign, and in 2007 it more than doubled its marketing offices overseas, targeting countries including China, Brazil and Canada.

New York is one of only a few U.S. urban centers that did not see a drop in the number of overseas visitors between 2000 and 2006.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he wants the city to attract 50 million travelers each year by 2015. Last year, visitors to New York spent $4 billion more than they had the year before.

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