Tourism in New York City

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Times Square is the hub of the Broadway theater district and a major cultural venue in Midtown Manhattan. The pedestrian intersection also has one of the highest annual attendance rates of any tourist attraction in the world, estimated at 60 million including daytrippers.[1]

New York City received an eighth consecutive annual record of approximately 62.8 million tourists in 2017, counting not just overnighters but anyone visiting for the day from over 50 miles away, including commuters.[2].[3]. Overall the city welcomed 38 million visitors who stayed overnight [4] of which 13.3 million were international in 2018. [5] Major destinations include the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, Broadway theatre productions, Central Park, Times Square, Coney Island, the Financial District, museums, sports stadiums, luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues, entertainment events such as the Tribeca Film Festival, Randalls Island music festivals such as Governors Ball, Panorama and Electric Zoo, and free performances in Central Park at Summerstage and Delacorte Theater. Many New York City ethnic enclaves, such as Jackson Heights, Flushing, and Brighton Beach are major shopping destinations for first and second generation Americans up and down the East Coast.

New York City has over 28,000 acres (110 km2) of parkland and 14 linear miles (22 km) of public beaches.[6][7] Manhattan's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States.[8] Prospect Park in Brooklyn, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, has a 90-acre (36 ha) meadow.[9] Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the city's third largest, was the setting for the 1939 World's Fair and 1964 World's Fair.


Year Total
1991 29.1 23.6 5.5 10.1
1995 28.5 23.1 5.4 11.7
1998 33.1 27.1 6.0 14.7
1999 36.4 29.8 6.6 15.6
2000 36.2 29.4 6.8 17.0
2001 35.2 29.5 5.7 15.1
2002 35.3 30.2 5.1 14.1
2003 37.8 33.0 4.8 18.5
2004 39.9 33.8 6.2 21.3
2005 42.6 35.8 6.8 24.3
2006 43.8 36.5 7.3 26.2
2007 46.0 37.1 8.8 30.0
2008 47.1 37.6 9.5 32.0
2009 45.8 37.0 8.8 28.2
2010 48.8 39.1 9.7 31.5
2011 50.9 40.3 10.3 34.5
2012 51.5 40.9 10.6 36.9
2013 53 41.7 11.3 38.8
2014 54.4 42.5 11.9 41.2
2015 55.9 43.2 12.7 42.3
2016 60.5 47.8 12.7 43.0
2017 62.8 49.7 13.1
2018 65.2 51.6 13.5 44.0

According to NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for the city, the top producing countries for international visitors to New York City in 2011 were the United Kingdom (1,055,000), Canada (1,033,000), Brazil (718,000), France (662,000), Germany (587,000), Australia (532,000), Italy (495,000), China (427,000), Spain (422,000), Mexico (376,000), and Japan (299,000).[10] With the exception of slight peaks around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, visitor arrival rates are roughly the same year-round. New York has one of the highest hotel-occupancy rates in the country. Arrivals have remained relatively high even since the global economic crisis, due to heavy discounting and value-added pricing.[citation needed] In 2017, there were an estimated 62.8 million visitors, including daytrippers, of which 49.7 million were domestic.[11]

Double decker tour buses and boats with tour guides bring sightseers to various parts of Manhattan and other boroughs, while pedicabs and horse cabs serve those with a taste for more personal service. More adventurous tourists rent bicycles at neighborhood shops or along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway or simply walk, which is often the quickest way to get around in congested, busy commercial districts and a way to appreciate street life.

Many visitors investigate their genealogy at historic immigration sites such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Other tourist destinations include the Empire State Building, for 41 years the world's tallest building after its construction in 1931, Radio City Music Hall, home of The Rockettes, a variety of Broadway shows, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, housed on a World War II aircraft carrier, and city landmarks such as Central Park, one of the finest examples of landscape architecture in the world. New York City has encouraged tourist shopping by eliminating its sales tax on clothing and footwear. In the past, the World Trade Center was an important tourist destination before the September 11 attacks, which devastated the city and its tourist industry. Tourists were scarce for months, and it took two years for the numbers to fully rebound with fewer international, but more domestic visitors, due in part to an emphasis on "patriotic tourism".[12] The World Trade Center site itself became an important place to visit, and visits to the World Trade Center have increased, especially with openings of new buildings on the site in recent years.

Street fairs and street events such as the Labor Day Carnival in Brooklyn, Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, and New York Marathon also attract tourists.

Tourism companies[edit]

New York City law requires all guides to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. A professional trade organization of licensed tour guides in the city is GANYC (Guides Association of New York City), which represents just 10.9% of all licensed tour guides in the city.[13]

In 1992, the "Greeter" initiative was founded by Lynn Brooks with the association "Big Apple Greeter" in New York City.[14] The voluntary and personal hosting of tourists should improve the bad image of the megacity. More "Greeter" projects followed in other US-American cities and worldwide. Today, more than 300 volunteers "greet" over 7000 visitors per year in New York City As of 2010.[15]

NYC & Company, the city's official convention and visitor bureau, is currently headed by Fred Dixon. It has offices in 14 countries, including Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Korea and China.[16] NYC & Company is the official source of tourism statistics for the city. The research department develops and distributes comprehensive information on NYC domestic and international visitor statistics and monitors the travel industry's impact on New York City's economy. The department also produces 14 official New York City tourism marketing publications that feature information on member hotels, museums, attractions, theaters, stores, restaurants, meeting venues, and service providers.

Special interest tours[edit]

New York City has a rich musical culture and history.[17] Accordingly, numerous jazz, gospel music, rock and roll, rhythm and blues and hip hop tours are available. Popular locations for music tours include Harlem and the East Village. Walking tours are one of the most popular ways of seeing the city and many private guides supply tours.

Food tours are another option for visitors. New York is one of the top culinary destinations in the world. New York's food culture, influenced by the city's immigrants and large number of dining patrons, is diverse. Jewish and Italian immigrants made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake and New York-style pizza. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors, many of them immigrants, are licensed by the city and have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafel and kebabs standbys of contemporary New York street food.[18] The city is also home to many of the finest haute cuisine restaurants in the United States.[19] Food tours allow visitors to try a wide variety of these foods economically and learn about the city's culture.[20] Tour companies include New York Food Tours, Local Finds Queens Food Tours and Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours.[21]

New York City Marathon in Harlem

Visitors to New York City also partake in sports tourism. Sporting events draw tourists to major venues such as the Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Madison Square Garden, and to street events such as the New York City Marathon.

New York City is one of the major film capitals of the world. Through specially arranged NYC movie location tours, tourists can visit the scenes of TV shows and movies such as Seinfeld, Friends, Sex and the City, Saturday Night Live, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Miracle on 34th Street, Godfather, and Taxi Driver.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rachel Sugar (December 19, 2016). "More tourists visited NYC in 2016 than ever before". Vox Media. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  2. ^ "Mayor De Blasio And NYC & Company Announce NYC Welcomed Record 62.8 Million Visitors In 2017". NYC & Company, Inc. March 20, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "NYC expects more tourists but fewer international visitors".
  4. ^ NYC travel and tourism report 2017 (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Mayor Giuliani Announces Amount of Parkland in New York City has Passed 28000 Acre Mark". New York City Mayor's Office. February 3, 1999. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  7. ^ "Beaches". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  8. ^ "City Park Facts". The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  9. ^ "General Information". Prospect Park Alliance. Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  10. ^ NYC & Company. "NYC Statistics". Retrieved 2006-08-03.
  11. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (2017-11-19). "New York City Expects More Tourists, but Fewer International Visitors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
  12. ^ New York Daily News, Sept 17 2003[permanent dead link] Patriotic boost for city tourism
  13. ^ "Business: NYC".
  14. ^ New Yorkers As 'Greeters. In: New York Times, May 31, 1992.
  15. ^ Volunteers give free tours in cities around the world. In: USA Today, August 1, 2010.
  16. ^ NYC & Company. "NYC & Company Offices Worldwide". Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  17. ^ "Places To Visit In New York City". Pinterest Places To Visit In New York City. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  18. ^ Bleyer, Jennifer (May 14, 2006). "Kebabs on the Night Shift". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  19. ^ Collins, Glenn (November 3, 2005). "Michelin Takes on the City, Giving Some a Bad Taste". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  20. ^ Courtney Hollands, Kara Baskin, and Christie Matheson. "Break Loose". Boston Globe. 28 March 2010.
  21. ^ New York Food Tours,; Queens Food Tours,, Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours,