New York Tops for Tourism, in Down Year

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A tourist bus passes through Times Square.

    Yay! We've beaten Orlando!

    New York City was officially the most popular tourism destination in the United States for 2009 -- the first time that's happened since 1990 -- despite the numbers being down over all.

     “Over the past eight years, our efforts to make New York City an even more exciting place to visit have helped produce a record number of tourists and create thousands of jobs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Last year, while tourism declined significantly in cities across the country, we fared far better than most. In fact, for the first time in 20 years, we were the most popular tourism destination in the country, surpassing Orlando, and our leisure and hospitality jobs rose – surpassing even their pre-recession levels.

    City officials say 45.2 million tourists visited New York last year, down 3.9 percent from 2008. The industry tracks visitors through the region's airports and major rail hubs.

    Officials said hotel demand remained very strong, with 23.6 million room nights sold – a new City record and 300,000 more than the previous year.

    Tourism officials on Monday predicted the number of visitors would be up by 3.2 percent this year and that last year's drop was much smaller than expected.