FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW YORK CITY'S TOURISM SUCCESS IN 2009 - BECOMING MOST POPULAR U.S. DESTINATION AND SURPASSING PRE-RECESSION JOB LEVELS - IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, January 10, 2010
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Even as the national economy continues to struggle, here’s a piece of great news for our city to kick off the new year: For the first time in two decades, New York City is now the most popular tourist destination in the country. By continuing to make our city cleaner and safer than ever and because of new promotion efforts by our tourism marketing organization, NYC & Company, we attracted 45¼ million to the five boroughs in 2009, helping us overtake Orlando to become the nation’s number one draw.
“Granted, we didn’t attract as many visitors as we did in 2008 – which was a record-breaking year – but we did much better than we thought we were going to given the global economic downturn. In fact, while tourism plummeted in the rest of the country, we welcomed a million-and-a-quarter more visitors than we’d anticipated. And that keeps us on track to hit our goal of drawing 50 million visitors annually by 2012.
“Beyond the bragging rights of being the nation’s top tourist destination, all those visitors had real consequences for our economy. Our hotels sold more rooms in 2009 than they did in 2008. Broadway sold $3 million more in tickets than it did the year before. Also, international arrivals at our airports began to pick up at the end of the year after months of decline.
“All of that helped create thousands of new jobs. Actually, the number of New Yorkers employed in the tourism industry in November ‘09 was higher than it was in November ’07, before the recession started, and the highest tourism-related November job numbers on record. Now, this doesn’t mean everyone who lost a job in the industry has gotten it back, nor does it mean other sectors are doing as well. But because tourism is the source of one out of every 10 private sector jobs in New York City, its recovery is a good sign that our economy as a whole is poised for a comeback.
“To make sure we start off this year strong, we’ve launched a new winter tourism promotion called ‘The Real Deal,’ offering savings on more than 200 hotels, restaurants, theaters, museums, shops, and tours in all five boroughs. Anyone can use them – tourists or New Yorkers. Look for a list of all the discounts – redeemable through February – at NYC & Company’s website, which can be accessed at nyc.gov.
“Also don’t forget about Winter Restaurant Week – which begins January 25th. Both Restaurant Week and The Real Deal are the perfect excuse for out-of-towners to take an affordable vacation in the world’s greatest city. And for city residents, it’s a great reason to visit restaurants and neighborhoods you’ve never been to before.
“Before signing off, let me also remind you that this weekend is ‘Mulchfest.’ That’s the City’s program of grinding Christmas trees and wreathes into wood chips that are used to insulate tree pits and gardens all over town. This year, there are 81 Mulchfest locations in parks, community gardens, and at other sites. To find one convenient for you, visit the City’s web site at nyc.gov or call 311. Just remember: these sites will remain open until 2:00 PM today.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958