New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (pictured), NYC & Company Chair Emily Rafferty, and NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta have announced that New York City will reach 54.3 million visitors in 2013, a new all-time high and an increase of nearly 20 million annual tourists since 2002. By the end of this year, visitors to New York City will have generated US$58.7 billion in overall economic impact and US$39.4 billion in direct spending, while jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector are anticipated to reach a monthly average of more than 370,000 by year’s end, demonstrating the importance of the tourism and hospitality industry to New York City and its economy. The mayor also announced that the Big Apple is on pace to reach 55 million annual visitors by next year, a year ahead of his original goal of 2015.

“Tourism plays a vital role in our city’s economy, and the work that we’ve done to strengthen tourism over the past 12 years has helped our city weather the national economic downturn and come out in far better shape than most other cities,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since 2002, overall tourism here has grown more than 50%, while international visitation has increased more than 100%. In addition, more and more people are visiting attractions outside of Manhattan, thanks in part to our efforts to support cultural organizations in neighborhoods across the city.”

Of the more than 54 million visitors in 2013, 42.9 million travel to New York City domestically, while 11.4 million travel from international locations. Hotel demand in 2013 will also reach a projected 30 million hotel room nights sold, which represents an increase of a million room nights sold as compared to last year. Hotel average occupancy for the year is anticipated to finish at 87.8%, while average daily room rates citywide are up for 4% to US$296. Hotel development is expected to reach 100,000 rooms by the end of 2014.