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New York City draws 48.7 million tourists in 2010

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Crowds fill New York's Times Square for the 13th Annual Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk For Women in May.
Crowds fill New York's Times Square for the 13th Annual Entertainment Industry Foundation Revlon Run/Walk For Women in May.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Number of tourists in New York rises 6.8 percent from 2009, surpassing projections
  • Hospitality industry adds 6,600 jobs, employing more New Yorkers than ever, mayor says
  • Big Apple also set records for hotel rooms added and room nights sold even as rates rose
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(CNN) -- So much for an economic downturn.

New York City drew 48.7 million tourists in 2010, exceeding last year's total and surpassing projections, while adding more jobs and employing a record amount of New Yorkers in the hospitality industry, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday.

The number of tourists rose 6.8 percent from 2009 to surpass early projections of 47.5 million, putting the Big Apple on pace to meet its goal of attracting 50 million annual visitors by 2012, Bloomberg said.

The hospitality industry also added 6,600 jobs in 2010, employing more New Yorkers in the industry than ever, the mayor said.

New York set records for hotel rooms added (7,000) and room nights sold (25.7 million), even as room rates increased overall, Bloomberg said. Attendance at nonprofit cultural institutions and Broadway shows also increased.

"The strength of our tourism industry is one of the reasons New York City was less impacted by the national recession than other cities, and it continues to be one of the reasons we're growing faster than other cities today," Bloomberg said at a press conference.

"The industry employed more New Yorkers in 2010 than ever before, and the $31 billion visitors spent this year supported our restaurants, shops, hotels and cultural institutions. We're constantly looking for ways to strengthen and diversify our economy, and growing our tourism industry is an important part of that work."

Other highlights from the press conference included:

-- 39 million visitors were from the United States and 9.7 million were from abroad.

-- Average daily room rates rose to $330 in December 2010, an 8.9 percent increase over 2009.

-- July 2010 set a record for total jobs in the hospitality industry with 323,200, and all of 2010 is expected to set a record when December job data is released later this month.

-- Broadway attendance so far this season is above 7.55 million, up 3.8 percent from this point last season.