Last updated: 05:06 PM ET, Thu March 19 2015

Big Apple Target: New York Wants 67 Million Visitors by 2021

Destination & Tourism | James Shillinglaw | March 19, 2015

Big Apple Target: New York Wants 67 Million Visitors by 2021

By anyone’s count, New York City tourism is a rousing success story. NYC & Co., at its annual meeting of local hotels, attractions, tour operators and other travel-related companies, reported that the city welcomed an all-time record 56.4 million visitors in 2014, 44.2 million from the U.S. and 12.2 million from international destinations. Those figures also include 6.1 million meeting delegates.

Visitor spending last year resulted in an estimated $61.3 billion in economic impact and $3.7 billion in city tax revenues, and also supported 359,000 tourism-related jobs.

But New Yorkers are never really satisfied with just record performances. So the city is now launching even more programs aimed at attracting an additional 10 million visitors to New York by 2021. NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon, speaking before NYC & Co. delegates at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, said the city was committed to reaching the goal of 67 million visitors through new strategies and marketing programs, including a renewed focus on promoting the tourism attractions of all five major boroughs of the city.

According to Dixon, each additional million visitors would result in significant economic gains for New York, solidifying the tourism industry as a major engine for the city. Of the 67 million visitors expected by the end of 2021, 16 million are forecasted to come from international markets while 51 million would originate from domestic markets.

For this year, Dixon said New York was focused on beating the projection of 55 million visitors by the end of 2015. Total visitor volume for 2015 is projected to rise 3 percent overall to 58.1 million.

NYC & Co. recently launched its NYCGO Insider Guides, which highlight a broad and diverse range of neighborhoods across the City. This month it also debuted the the first-ever official tourism guide to the Bronx, which the NYC & Co. Foundation helped fund. The group’s strategy to increase visitation and prepare for 10 million more visitors includes:

1) Targeting diverse international markets through NYC & Company’s network of 17 international representative offices serving 28 global regions, including such emerging markets as China, India, Brazil and Spanish-speaking Latin America

2) Attracting major sports events to New York City, including the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships, the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, the Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon and this summer’s WWE SummerSlam.

3) Hosting Tourism-Ready seminars in every borough to help tourism-related businesses and attractions increase visitation and expand their economic benefits locally.

4) Launching strategic seasonal and brand campaigns to promote New York City to the world, including the new NYCGO Insider Guides highlighting travel to diverse and vibrant neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs

5) Introducing new “Free in NYC” messaging on a dedicated part of NYC & Co.’s website to highlight free and low-cost activities especially for the upcoming summer travel season, providing more reasons to visit and experience the five boroughs. This includes free museums and attractions, free TV show tapings, free for kids attractions, free tours, and free parks and gardens.

6) Targeting global meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions business with a new “Make it NYC” meetings campaign.

7) Going on media missions to developing tourism markets in Europe, India and South America to promote New York City as a world-class destination.

In addition, NYC & Co. is continuing its promotion featuring Taylor Swift, who moved to New York last year, as its global ambassador, singing “Welcome to New York” as a way to attract the growing millennial market.

NYC & Co. also is expanding its welcome advertising at New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports.  It will also continue the widely successful NYC Restaurant Week, a campaign featuring Curious George aimed at attracting family visitors, and its NYC by Design program showcasing design and art around the city. It also is launching a new campaign aimed at getting native New Yorkers to suggest their favorite dining, attractions and activities.

“We look forward to welcoming 67 million annual visitors by 2021 to explore the boroughs, grow the economy, support the creation of hundreds of thousands of good jobs, and discover all the city has to offer,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, who represented New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio at the NYC & Co. annual meeting.

Added Emily Rafferty, chairman of NYC & Co. and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Through our mutual collaboration we will expand tourism opportunities in every corner of this city, and arrive at our new destination of 67 million annual visitors by the end of 2021.” 

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