New York City Travel Briefing

New York City Travel Briefing



Key Findings

Keeping the momentum: After reaching its goal of attracting over 50 million tourists in 2012, New York City expects to boost arrivals to 55 million by 2015, thus maintaining its position as the number one destination in the US.

Emerging markets: New York City welcomed 11 million international tourists in 2012, thanks to its ability to capitalise on growing tourism demand from markets like Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Reaching new audiences: By highlighting activities, attractions and travel offers tailored to specific tourist segments, New York City is further diversifying its consumer base and boosting arrivals.

Hotels beyond Manhattan: Travel accommodation supply continues to grow beyond Manhattan, and gain increased penetration in the surrounding boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Airport system: All three major airports in New York City are still hampered by delays and maintenance challenges. Hence, enhanced infrastructure is necessary to maintain a functional national airport system and prepare to handle the additional volume of passengers expected by 2015.

United in the lead: Following its merger with Continental Airlines over the 2011 and 2012 period, United became the largest airline operating in New York City.

NYC for all: Travel and tourism in New York City is expected to continue to thrive prompted by its unquestioned popularity as a business and leisure destination in the US and abroad.


SWOT: New York City


Geographic location
Located on the eastern seaboard and near Canada, NYC is a gateway for international tourists into the US. The city welcomed 11 million international visitors in 2012.

“Must see” destination
New York City has an unrivalled reputation on the global stage for its culture, shopping, dining and tourist attractions. It is a “must see” city for everyone.


Air transportation delays
As the largest market for air travel in the US, the three major airports that serve New York City suffer from congestion problems, which cause consistent flight delays.

Lengthy visa process
Obtaining a visa can be a long process for those who are not citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries, including those from some key source markets to NYC, for example Brazil.


New tourist segments
By targeting specific consumer segments, New York City is set to see robust growth in arrivals and further diversification of its consumer base in the years to come.

Brazilian tourists
As the second most important source market to NYC since 2012, Brazil offers opportunities for NYC to further enhance tourism flows and expenditure in the short term.


Oil prices
As oil prices continue to rise, the costs of auto and air travel continue to make a trip to New York City more costly, in a city that is already the highest in average prices.

Natural disasters
Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which hit NYC in October 2012, could present a major threat to tourism, disrupting operations and reducing arrivals from time to time.



Red carpet for Brazilian tourists

Key source market 

  • In 2012, Brazilians became the second largest source market to New York City, after the UK.
  • According to NYC & Company, New York City welcomed a total of 856,000 Brazilians in 2012, up from 718,000 in 2011.
  • The surge of Brazilians is helping offset the decline seen from European markets like Italy and Spain.
  • Brazilians are also outspending European tourists.
  • In 2011 and 2012, Brazilians spent nearly as much as Australians, who top the NYC tourism expenditure ranking on trips to New York City.

Strategies for success

  • To attract a larger number of Brazilians to New York City, local businesses, as well as tourism authorities, have undertaken a number of initiatives.
  • Hotels and retail stores, for example, are hiring Portuguese-speaking staff to make Brazilians feel more welcome.
  • Meanwhile, NYC & Company partnered with the tourism board in São Paulo, SPTuris, to enhance its marketing and promotional efforts in this key gateway city.
  • Additionally, it convinced American Airlines to introduce discount fares between New York City and São Paulo.

Reasons for travelling

  • While the strengthening of the US dollar vis-à-vis the Real and the arduous process to obtain a US visa present a major barrier to future tourism flows to New York City, Brazilians are expected to continue to flock to the city destination.
  • Besides being a status symbol, a trip to the Big Apple is often associated with shopping.
  • Even with an unfavourable exchange rate, consumer goods in the US are much cheaper than in Brazil.
  • Brazilians are also attracted by the large number of cultural attractions and dining options offered by New York City.

Targeting new audiences

Repeat Visitors

  • Help increase visits by exploring new areas in the city.
  • To capitalise on this segment, NYC & Company launched a Neighborhood x Neighborhood campaign designed to drive visits to off-the-beaten-path areas.


  • NYC consolidated its positioning as a hub for LGBT tourism following the approval of The Marriage Equality Act, effective from 24 July 2011.
  • Same sex marriage generated US$259 million in economic impact for New York City during the first year.


  • To attract a larger number of tourists between the ages of 18 and 29, NYC & Company launched a campaign entitled NYC<30.
  • The campaign showcases the city as a rite of passage, featuring numerous attractions and initiatives, eg special discounts targeted at this group.


  • The creation of an Official NYC Family Ambassador programme has been key in promoting New York City as a family-friendly vacation destination and boosting family travel by 15% in 2012.


  • Flexible travel schedules and its large size represent an opportunity for New York City to boost arrivals during low season.
  • NYC & Company is developing a number of programmes, such as special access to Broadway Week Tickets to reach this important target market.

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