New York is on course for an all-time high in visitor numbers this year, with international arrivals predicted to top 12.7 million. With a predicted 1.23m arrivals, the UK will remain the number one overseas market.
Speaking in London this week, Fred Dixon, president and chief executive, NYC & Company, said the city was in a period of unprecedented growth, and the tourist board was feeling ‘bullish’ about the future: “It’s an exciting time for the city.”
“We have the most active pipeline development in the US,” he said. “We’ve added 35,000 rooms since 2008. That’s the entire inventory of San Francisco.”
By the end of this year the city will have 120,000 rooms in total, and by the end of 2019 that number will have risen to 135,000. Headline openings this summer include The Beekman in Lower Manhattan; The William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, which has an outdoor swimming pool; and the Four Seasons New York Downtown, which features a Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
Complementing the hotel development is a raft of infrastructure improvements and new attractions. Penn Station, served by all Amtrak’s East Coast services, is being reimagined; Second Avenue Subway will be the city’s first new subway line in eight years when it debuts later this year; and the Citi Bike service is expanding into more neighbourhoods, with safety the primary focus. At least 75 lane miles will be added by the year end, including 18 fully protected miles.
Highlighting the city’s diverse neighbourhoods remains a key theme for NYC & Company. Fifteen years after 9/11, Lower Manhattan is thriving once more. The Westfield World Trade Centre opened in August, with more than 100 brands featured, including Apple, Hugo Boss and Kiehls.
Chris Heywood, senior vice-president, global communications, NYC & Company, said: “This really puts Lower Manhattan on the map as a retail destination.”
Barney’s also now has a five-storey downtown location, and Empire Outlets will open on Staten Island in 2017. The island will also be the home of the New York Wheel. “This will be the tallest wheel in the world – at 192 metres high – when it opens in April 2018,” said Heywood.
Hudson Yards will provide a new entertainment and shopping hub on the Far West Side of New York when it opens in 2018-19. An observation deck at 30 Hudson Yards will be the highest outdoor viewing platform in the city.
Meanwhile, the Empire State Building will sell a number of limited tickets [100 per day] between October 1 and November 20 to see the sunrise from the famous 86th floor observatory. See esbnyc.com/sunrise for more details.