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NYC Says Tourist Visits Rose to Record 52 Million in 2012

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- New York City attracted a record 52 million tourists this year, an all-time high and a 2.1 percent increase over 2011, officials said.

Visitors to the most populous U.S. city spent $36.9 billion, up from $34.5 billion in 2011, and created an estimated $55.3 billion in economic impact, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC & Company, the marketing and tourism office.

Bloomberg, who set a goal of 55 million visitors and $70 billion in economic impact by 2015, has promoted tourism as a way to become less reliant on Wall Street. Since 2006 he has created 18 marketing offices in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Leisure and hospitality provided 356,000 jobs this year, 26 percent more than in 2000, when there were 282,000.

“The tourism industry is thriving, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers at all rungs of the economic ladder,” Bloomberg said today in statement prepared for a news conference at Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History. “We are well on our way to achieving our new goal.”

Even with the addition this year of 17 new hotels, which brought the city’s total number of rooms to 91,500, hotel occupancy averaged 87 percent, highest in the nation, said Chris Heywood, an NYC & Company spokesman. The city collected a record $504 million in hotel tax revenue.

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

To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net; Steven Fromm at sfromm@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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