NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, announced that New York City’s economic recovery continued in 2022 with an anticipated 56.4 million travelers arriving in the City by the end of the year—a 71.4% increase over 2021. The City will see 47.4 million domestic and 8.9 million international travelers visit the five boroughs—with international visitation alone more than tripling over 2021. This activity marks the return of 85% of the City’s record 2019 visitation levels; New York City remains on pace to attract 61.7 million visitors in 2023. The pace of tourism’s rebound helps fuel the City’s economic recovery supporting approximately 410,000 jobs in the full leisure and hospitality sector and more than $40 billion in direct visitor spending or approximately $60 billion in total economic impact for the year.
“New York City is not coming back—we are back,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “After being the hardest hit of any city in the country during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 57 million travelers visited the greatest city in the world this year, and that’s because every day we show more creative energy and success. And thanks to a booming tourism industry, our city continues to be a vital economic engine that supports the nation’s overall recovery, accounting for 410,000 jobs for New Yorkers and $60 billion in economic impact across all five boroughs. We can’t wait to welcome even more visitors in 2023, but I have one message for them all: Spend money!”
“New York City’s economy continues to surge back with thriving tourism as domestic and international travelers seek the magic of the Big Apple,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Continuing to make New York a must-see destination for work or play and supporting our city’s tourism industry is critical to bringing jobs back to pre-pandemic levels.”
“New York City has always proven itself to be resilient, and we have every reason to remain optimistic about tourism,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “With $40 billion in direct spend and a 71.4% increase in visitation, New York City as a destination has clearly demonstrated that its recovery pace is among the strongest in the country and that normal visitation patterns are returning.”
“The strength of New York City’s economy has historically been bolstered by a strong tourism sector, which now accounts for 9% of the City’s jobs and supports thousands of businesses citywide,” said NYC & Company Board Chair and The Shubert Organization Executive Vice President Charles Flateman. “Ongoing investments in transportation, hotels, arts, attractions and other related sectors in the coming years will ensure the City’s growth by reaffirming New York City as a premier destination for business and leisure travel.”
Several factors contributed to the City’s tourism rebound: throughout 2022, New York City saw a steady return of visitors across all five boroughs with travel activity beginning to return to pre-pandemic patterns. The demand for hotels remained strong and was supported by a steady increase in midweek business travel. Meetings and conventions activity increased citywide with the Javits Center seeing a 15% increase from August to December 2022 as compared to the same period in 2021. In addition, the resumption of airline service routes, the continuation of infrastructure investments throughout the pandemic, and the addition of new tourism offerings, programs and major events across the five boroughs have been critical to attracting visitors back to the City and encouraging spending activity. Tax revenue generated by visitor spending saved each New York City household approximately $2,000 in 2022.
Hotel performance grew throughout 2022 and is forecast to reach nearly 32 million room nights sold, just 20% below 2019 record levels. New York City is again among the top 25 US markets and was the highest-performing hotel city in the US in November and December 2022. For the week ending December 10, hotel demand recovered 96% of the 2019 benchmark with over 800,000 room nights sold. Hotel occupancy was over 90% and the Average Daily Rate (ADR) was over $400, which translates to a recovery of 124% of 2019 rates.
Tourism and hospitality-related jobs in accommodations, restaurants, shops, museums, theaters, transportation and attractions across all five boroughs also saw steady improvement—although still below pre-pandemic levels—with a roughly 13% increase. As of October 2022, there were over 410K people employed in the full leisure and hospitality sector, accounting for 9% of all jobs in the City. The hotel sector, more specifically, also saw an increase in job strength, reaching 37,300 through October 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New York City remains the largest point of entry to the US and a top destination for international travelers. International visitation, which accounts for nearly half of visitor spending, rebounded in 2022 with arrivals tripling over 2021 for a total of nearly 9 million travelers. Western European visitation rebounded significantly in 2022 after travel restrictions were removed at the end of 2021. In addition, travel from South America improved—from Brazil and Colombia in particular. In 2022, New York City’s five largest international markets were the United Kingdom (754,000), Canada (656,000), France (607,000), Brazil (520,000) and Spain (413,000).
Ongoing investment across New York City’s five boroughs will support ongoing tourism growth. These projects include a multibillion-dollar slate of improvements at LaGuardia, Newark-Liberty and John F. Kennedy airports; a new Moynihan Train Hall; and an expanded Javits Center to host business meetings and conventions. More than 11,000 hotel rooms will be added to the City’s inventory in the next three years and new attractions, museums, tours and other offerings continue to launch across the City. New York City will also benefit from major events in the coming years, including the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop beginning in 2023 and the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2026.