New York City’s Record 50.5 Million Tourists Last Year Surpass Estimates

New York City attracted a record 50.5 million visitors last year, 300,000 more than officials predicted in December, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today.

Visitors increased by 3.5 percent in 2011, NYC & Co., the city’s marketing and tourism office, said in a statement. Tourists injected $32 billion into the economy, up from $31.5 billion in 2010, the most of any U.S. travel destination, the agency said. Hotel occupancy averaged 85 percent.

Tourism has been the focus of a Bloomberg administration marketing effort aimed at diversifying the economy at a time when city officials expect Wall Street revenue to decline. The industry employs more than 320,000, making it New York’s fifth biggest.

“The city’s diverse offerings, events and activities combined with a high quality of life continue to make New York City the world’s premier destination for both leisure and business travelers,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The record visitations occurred ahead of Bloomberg’s goal, set in 2006, to attract 50 million tourists by 2015, which he later accelerated to 2012.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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