New York City is among the world’s most visited cities. Tourists from all over the globe flock to the city’s five boroughs for its world-class museums, dining, Broadway shows, and skyscrapers.
Among its thousands of attractions, you’ll find architecturally stunning libraries and expansive green parks alike.
The city’s tourism industry took a major hit in 2020 when it became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before 2020, NYC welcomed a record-breaking number of tourists following a 10-year streak of exponential growth.
In this post, we’ll lay out the most important NYC tourism statistics that tour operators and attractions should know.
- NYC Tourists in 2021
- NYC Tourists in 2020
- NYC Tourists in 2019
- NYC Monthly Tourism Numbers
- NYC Weekly Tourism Numbers
- NYC Daily Tourism Numbers
How many tourists visit NYC each year?
Over 60 million tourists visit NYC every year, at least up until the pandemic. About 66.6 million people traveled to the city in 2019, a record-breaking year for the bustling metropolis. Yet visitor numbers dropped steeply in 2020 and have yet to recover in 2021. Overall, tourist numbers aren’t expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
NYC Tourists in 2021
NYC’s tourism industry began to slowly rebound in 2021. The city welcomed about 33 million visitors in 2021, up from 22.3 million the year prior.
Domestic tourists were the first to return now that interstate travel restrictions have been lifted. As the city recovers, visitor numbers are forecasted to grow to 56.7 million in 2022.
NYC Tourists in 2020
The number of jobs in the industry also declined to 194,200, a 31% decrease from 2019. The sudden drop marked the end of a 10-year streak of record growth.
NYC Tourists in 2019
The number of tourists visiting NYC in 2019 had almost tripled in the 28 years since 1991 — and almost half of the growth happened within the past 10 years.
That being said, 2019 was a record-breaking year for NYC tourism. The city welcomed 66.6 million people, which accounted for a quarter of all the state’s visitors that year. Domestic travelers made up 80% of those visitors, and most were in the city for leisure purposes.
That year, the tourism industry generated a record 283,200 jobs.
NYC Monthly Tourism Numbers
On average, the city received 5.5 million visitors per month in 2019, the last normal year before the pandemic.
However, there are two peak tourism seasons in NYC. The first is in the summer from June to August, and the second is during winter from November to December. These periods see much higher visitation numbers than other months of the year.
Overall, the city welcomed over 60 million tourists in 2019.
NYC Weekly Tourism Numbers
Going off of 2019 numbers, NYC’s weekly visitors would average to about 1.3 million people. Yet the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are especially busy, causing visitor numbers to soar.
NYC Daily Tourism Numbers
More than 300,000 people are regularly walking through Times Square in 2022. In a typical year, the top NYC attraction would welcome nearly 360,000 pedestrians each day. In 2020, though, that number dropped to 125,000. On its busiest days, Times Square has reached pedestrian counts as high as 450,000.
How much does tourism bring to NYC?
NYC’s tourism industry had an economic impact of $80.3 billion in 2019. Yet that number dropped to $20.2 billion in 2020. Two years prior in 2017, visitors spent more than $44.2 billion while staying in the city, generating an economic impact totaling more than $70 billion.
Which Demographics Want to Visit New York City the Most?
The majority of NYC’s visitors come from the U.S. Of those domestic travelers, most are there to enjoy leisurely visitor activities like dining, shopping, museums, theaters, and nightlife.
Meanwhile, only 20% of the city’s visitors are there on business.
How many Americans visit NYC each year?
In 2019, domestic travelers made up 80% of NYC’s visitors. That means the city hosted about 53 million Americans in its highest year yet.
Top states that have the most tourists that visit NYC
Almost two-thirds of the city’s domestic visitors come from the rest of New York state. Outside of New York, most come from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
How many international tourists visit NYC each year?
In 2019, 13.5 million international tourists landed in NYC. Yet international tourism suffered the deepest decline during the pandemic. In 2020, only 2.4 million international visitors made it over. In 2021, that number improved slightly to 2.7 million.
However, good news lies ahead for the global destination. International travel has rebounded in 2022 and international travelers are slowly making their way back to the city. NYC expects to receive over 8 million international visitors this year and over 11 million in 2023.
Top countries that have the most tourists that visit NYC
Canada, Mexico, and the U.K. were the top three markets in 2021 and are expected to grow tremendously in 2022.
In 2021, NYC received the most visitors from the following 10 countries. Keep in mind that visitor numbers were much lower than usual due to the pandemic:
- U.K. — 127,000
- Canada — 220,000
- France — 90,000
- Spain — 67,000
- Brazil — 83,000
- Mexico — 298,000
- Germany — 54,000
- Italy — 52,000
- Ireland — 28,000
- Australia — 27,000
In 2022, the U.K. is expected to take the lead with 801,000 visitors, with Canada following closely behind with 690,000. New York is the most popular choice of U.S. city for British tourists. About 40% of British travelers say they would like to visit the city sometime.
How Much Do Tourists Typically Spend in New York City?
While the majority of NYC visitors are domestic, international visitors have a greater impact per visitor on the city’s economy. The amount spent by one international visitor is typically equivalent to that of four domestic tourists.
Share of tourism spending / revenue in NYC by country of origin
Here is the average spending per visitor in 2019, broken down by country of origin:
- China — $3,000
- U.K. — $1,400
- Australia — $2,000
- Brazil — $1,600
- France — $1,500
- South Korea — $2,200
- Saudi Arabia — $4,120
- India — $2,500
- Germany — $1,300
- Italy — $1,200
How Many Hotel Rooms Are In New York City?
In 2019, there were about 123,000 hotel rooms in NYC. Another 19,000 or so were slated for development.
Yet when the pandemic hit, about 200 of the city’s 700 hotels were forced to close their doors. As the travel industry bounces back, the local hospitality industry is betting on a bright return: Nearly 50 new hotels are expected to add an estimated 6,500 new rooms to the New York market.
How many tours and attractions are in New York City?
NYC is home to thousands of tours and attractions. They span world-famous sites like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty to art museums and city parks.
The city continuously welcomes new attractions, too. In 2021, a 2.4-acre park called Little Island swung open with performance spaces, food stalls, and manicured gardens.
With so many attractions available, New York becomes the type of city that you can visit during any season. When the weather is nice, tourists can indulge in a spectacular helicopter ride above the city’s iconic skyscrapers. On a rainy day, they can visit museums, watch a show on Broadway, or play laser tag with friends and family.
NYC is open to all types of tours and attractions that cater to every kind of traveler.
Top 20 NYC Tourism Attractions by the numbers
1. Times Square
Times Square is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors every year and over 300,000 pedestrians per day.
2. Central Park
Central Park is the most visited park in NYC and third-most visited in the world. The park welcomed 42 million visitors in 2021.
3. Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal receives 750,000 visitors per day, making it one of the world’s top 10 most visited attractions. In 2018, the station welcomed 21.6 million tourists.
4. Theater District & Broadway
During the 2018-2019 season, nearly 112 million people attended musicals performed on Broadway.
5. The New York Public Library
About 16 million people walk through the doors at the New York Public Library, more than many other attractions combined.
6. Bryant Park
Bryant Park welcomes a whopping 12 million people every year.
7. High Line
An estimated 8 million visitors walk through NYC’s suspended High Line park every year.
8. Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
The Met attracted about 7 million visitors in 2019 in its three locations, The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Cloisters, and The Met Breuer.
9. September 11 Memorial
About 6.6 million people visited the September 11 Memorial in 2018, bringing its total visitor count to more than 43 million. The 9/11 Museum received about 3 million visitors.
10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The beautiful cathedral in NYC’s Midtown welcomes more than more than 5 million people every year.
11. Brooklyn Bridge
Over 5 million people visited Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2019.
12. American Museum of Natural History
Nearly 5 million people visit the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.
13. Statue of Liberty
About 4.24 million people visited the Statue of Liberty in 2019.
14. Empire State Building
More than 4 million people visit the Empire State Building every year.
15. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
About 3 million people visit the Museum of Modern Art, also known as MoMA, in NYC.
16. One World Trade Center
Over 2 million people visited the One World Trade Center when it opened in 2015.
17. Bronx Zoo
Every year, over 2 million people from around the world visit the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the country.
18. Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock
The Top of the Rock observation deck draws 2 million guests a year.
19. Guggenheim Museum
The Upper East Side museum welcomes more than 1 million visitors annually.
20. Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
One million people visit the air and space museum along the Hudson River, which showcases a World War II aircraft carrier.
This roundup of NYC statistics should help you better understand the market. If you’re deciding whether to open a tour company or attraction in the city, know that the tourism industry is expected to pick back up within the next few years.