NYC & Company has updated its 2017 travel forecast, which shows a drop of 300,000 visitors compared with 2016. In a statement, the Big Apple's destination marketing organization cited "the recent travel ban and related rhetoric" for the dropoff. The research was conducted for the DMO by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, which conducted an earlier forecast in October 2016, before the new administration took office.
Following tourism growth over the last seven years, this new forecast shows the first drop in inbound international travel to New York City since the start of the recession in 2008. The city expects domestic visitor numbers to remain strong, with their numbers to increase to 49.3 million visitors this year. Due to the number of tourists coming in from around the United States, overall travel to New York City is expected to grow by 1 million people this year, to a total of 61.7 million visitors. The DMO noted, however, "it takes the spending power of four domestic visitors to equal what a single international visitor spends."
In response to the new forecast, NYC & Company has launched a new international communications and marketing campaign titled "New York City - Welcoming the World." Beginning this month, the $3 million campaign will target top international visitor-source markets including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany and Spain, with more pending. The goal of the campaign is to reassure international travelers who might feel deterred from traveling to the U.S. and ensure them that New York City's experiences and values remain the same and all are welcome. NYC & Company's statement added, "As the safest large city in America, we value safety and security above all. However, our hospitality industry and its workers depend on visitors choosing NYC for their next holiday or business trip."
"While projected declines among travelers are concerning, the irrepressible hospitality and welcoming nature of New York City gives us confidence that our destination will continue to appeal to visitors from around the world," said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. "We will work tirelessly to do all we can to preserve our city's tourism industry in the months ahead."