Written by By Deepa Bharath, CNN New York
International tourists are spending more in New York City than ever before, according to a report published Monday by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME).
According to the report, there were 39.6 million overnight visitors in 2016, the largest annual figure since MOME began collecting that data in 2001. The report also indicated that these international tourists are spending more than ever in New York. This year, nearly half of all visitors came from Canada and the United Kingdom, which contributed $15.6 billion and $13.9 billion to the local economy, respectively.
The increase in tourists could be attributed to many factors, such as the soaring value of the dollar, said MOME’s executive director Alex Miranda.
“We saw some 8% increase in international visitors,” Miranda said. “But the rise of the Canadian dollar and the U.K. pound has also gone up. It’s great to see the Canadian dollar back where it used to be.”
Miranda said that the amount of dollars spent by international tourists in New York was largely determined by each country’s economy.
“They spend what they spend. If a tourist stays in New York City for two nights and spends $500, they will likely spend $150 on food and beverage, or $50 on taxis and $20 on the subway,” he said.
A further sign of foreign visitors’ confidence in the city’s economic stability is that 2017 was a record-breaking year for events such as the New York Auto Show and the Jazz Festival. In fact, Miranda said that seven of the top 10 best-attended events in the city are all concerts or other live performances.
This trend hasn’t escaped the city’s public officials. In April, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s spokesperson said that Bloomberg believed that “with a little bit of planning, diversity and cultural organizations, the combination of a strong economy and event production can produce tourism wins for the city and jobs for New Yorkers.”
Miranda sees that trend continuing, and said that future visitors will “be judged based on a curated experience as well as their general tourism experience, and not based solely on the amount of cash they spend. A guest experience does matter, and people want that from their place of business.”