Take That Recession! City Tourism Soars

International travelers help NYC set tourism records

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that New York City reached record levels of tourists and tourism dollars in 2008.

The city welcomed an estimated 47 million visitors, including 9.8 million of them traveling from abroad, also a record.

The city attracted a high of $30 billion in total visitor spending, surpassing the mark of $28.9 set in 2007.

Despite the sour economy this year, the city's hotel occupancy rate remains 20 percentage points ahead of the national average.

"Despite the economic challenges all cities are facing, tourism remains a  bright spot for New York City," Bloomberg said at a news conference at Rockefeller Center Monday.

Good News On The Crime Front Also

Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced last week that with just two days left in 2008, felony crime is on pace to decline in New York City for the 18th straight year.

Reductions were reported in every borough in nearly every category.

The crime rate overall has dipped 4 percent this year from 2007, and almost 30 percent since 2001.

The city is projected to post the second-lowest murder total -- since such records have been kept -- right behind 2007.

"Before 2002, the city had never recorded fewer than 600 murders a year, but now we'll do it seven years running," Bloomberg said. "The continuing reduction of crime is a testament to the quality of our police force -- the finest in the world -- and to our determination to find innovative ways of turning up the heat on criminals."

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