Last week, I attended the opening of a major new hotel in the fashion center - the first major hotel in that part of Manhattan, and the first building of any kind to go up in that district in 30 years. It was the latest sign of how New York City is more attractive than ever to visitors from around the world - and how we're meeting this increased demand, especially as we approach the holiday season, which is typically the busiest time of the year.
Word has spread around the country and all around the world that New York City's streets are clean and safe, our economy is surging, and that our famous, diverse cultural life is as vibrant as it's ever been. Tourists are increasingly coming to see not only our world famous landmarks - and to see the best art and culture in the world - but to experience neighborhoods throughout the City, in all five boroughs.
In 1997 more than 33 million people - a record total - visited the City of New York. This year, we expect that number to rise even higher, topping 34 million. Between 1996 and 1997, our growth in domestic visitors was an amazing 15 percent, making the City the fastest growing domestic tourism destination for American tourists among the top ten destinations.
When all these visitors come here, they spend money. They go to plays and sports events, eat in restaurants, go shopping, ride in taxis, and spend their money in a hundred other ways. All this represents a vital contribution to our economy. In 1997, visitors to the City spent $13.7 billion dollars, which generated $710 million in tax revenue for City government. That helps create jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers. More than 131,000 City jobs are supported by the tourism industry.
This holiday season, with New York City as strong as it's been in a generation, and all of our famous holiday traditions in full swing, the City will be particularly busy. And this may cause some frustrations for some New Yorkers. But if we prepare, and all exert a little extra effort to help things run efficiently, we can make one of the most active holiday seasons ever an enjoyable and smooth one for everyone.
Finally, this Thanksgiving weekend it's time to pause and recognize all that we have to be thankful for: our family, our friends, our freedom, and all the opportunities available to us in this great country and great city. I hope you and your family had a good Thanksgiving, and I hope you enjoy the rest of this long weekend. From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.