City Spotlight: New York City


by Asif Lakhani

Of all the destinations in the U.S. and across the world, there is arguably none more popular than New York City. The Big Apple welcomed 65.1 million visitors in 2018, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism and marketing agency. It was also New York’s ninth straight year of tourism growth, the agency said in its 2018-19 report. Total direct visitor spending for 2017 was $44.2 billion, which generated $12.1 billion in taxes and supported 391,400 jobs.

An overwhelming majority of New York City visitors in 2018 – 51.5 million to be precise – were from domestic markets, while 13.6 million came internationally. The most international visitors came from the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Brazil, and France, respectively; the top three countries had more than one million visitors each, according to NYC & Company’s data. Their report anticipates 2019 having a record 14 million international visitors. For perspective, the World Atlas says the U.S. welcomed 80 million international visitors total in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, New York City hotels are thriving – so much that demand exceeded inventory growth in 2018, according to NYC & Company. The average occupancy rate was 88 percent for the year and above 90 percent for six of those months, and the ADR was $291, the report said. New York City is on pace to have 137,000 hotel rooms by 2021, marking a roughly 19,000-room increase from 2018.


Enchanting attractions, marquee events, meticulous urban planning, and a one-of-a-kind energy are at the foundation of New York City’s identity and brand – all working in unison as the fuel for the city’s unmatched tourism industry. Hudson Yards is the nation’s largest private development. One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Central Park will be instantly recognizable forever.

Regular events include New York Fashion Week, held in February and September annually, a number of holiday parades, and the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The city also hosted WorldPride 2019 at the beginning of the summer, which was the first time the parade was held in the United States.

While Oklahoma City (City Spotlight October 2019) has the luxury of developing with technology and Phoenix (September 2019) has unmatched geographic resources, New York City will always have its popularity, one-of-a-kind energy, and timeless appeal. The nation’s capital may be in Washington D.C., but to check the country’s pulse and direction, one need only look at what’s happening in New York City.


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