New York City sets record for tourism, still aiming for giant Ferris Wheel...
Congrats to the folks in New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and tourism officials this week announced they welcomed 52 million visitors in 2012.
It's a new record and represents a modest, 2.1 per cent increase in visits from 2011, officials said.
Of those visitors, 41 million were from the U.S. and 11 million were international visitors. I was told a little more than 1 million of the visits were from Canadians, which is no surprise given the wealth of things to do in the city that never sleeps.
Officials said one out of three overseas visitors to the U.S. stops in New York, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. The 33 per cent figure is an increase from 28 per cent in the previous year.
Tourism types said the city's tourism industry generated $55.3 billion in economic impact and employed 356,000 New Yorkers in the hospitality sector.
Word today is that the guy who was talking about building a giant Ferris Wheel on Staten Island plans to go ahead, despite concerns about the type of winds generated by Tropical Storm Sandy last fall.
While Brooklyn and, lately, Queens have seen an influx of tourism, both the Bronx and Staten Island don't seem to be getting much tourism business or new developments. So the idea of the giant wheel, although hardly a new concept in the tourism world, is no doubt intriguing.
About the same time New York was announcing its 2012 tourism figures, U.S. officials were quoted as saying they brought in almost 12 per cent more visitors last year than in 2011.
"It was a very good year," Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, told Helen Anders of the New York Times.
While the Canadian government has hacked and slashed tourism spending north of the border, the U.S. (as well as Australia and other countries with some common sense and understanding of the impact of travel on their economies) has invested big time in trying to attract more tourists. Dow said the travel industry last year created jobs 17 per cent faster than other industries, which must mean something.
JAMAICA TOURISM IMPROVES
On a related note, Jamaica tourism officials say visits increased 2.3 per cent from January to November, 2012 compared to the previous year. Cruise arrivals were said to be up 26.6 per cent from January to October, helping spark an increase in tourism earnings of three per cent for the first 11 months of 2012.
Good news, for sure, for a place that's a favourite of Canadians. I spent some time in Jamaica in 2011 and loved it. The food was excellent and I stayed in a variety of cool places; the gorgeous Half Moon Bay/A Rock Resort and also at a fabulous, colourful spot on the south coast near Treasure Beach called Jake's; one of the most enjoyable spots I've ever stayed at anywhere in the world.
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- 7 nights' hotel accommodation: Ashling Hotel (1 night), Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel (1 night), International Hotel Kilarney (2 night), Wyatt Hotel (2 nights) and Ashling Hotel (1 night)
- Meals throughout your tour (as outlined in itinerary below)
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