Big Apple's CVB expects to welcome city-record 34 million visitors in 2000

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NEW YORK -- The new year is only 14 days old, but this city's tourism bureau already is projecting that leisure and business travelers will flock to the Big Apple in record numbers in 2000.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau predicts 2000 will be a record year for tourism. According to New York Convention and Visitors Bureau predictions, this city will be visited by a record 34 million tourists in 2000, a 2% increase compared with 1999.

In line with the increase, visitor spending is projected to top $16.4 billion, up 6.1% compared with 1999, the bureau said.

"New York City is definitely on a roll," said Cristyne Lategano, the bureau's president.

"People around the world are clearly excited about the city's renaissance, the fact that it's cleaner and brighter and has become the safest large city in the U.S.," she said.

The bureau said this year's projections represent a 17% increase in visitors during the past five years. International visitors are expected to play a large role in this year's numbers, the bureau said.

Travel from Europe is expected to increase by 6% compared with 1999, reflecting continued economic recovery in important Western markets, the bureau said.

Overall, the city is expected to receive 3% more international visitors in 2000 compared with 1999, due in part to a rebound of Asian and South American economies, the bureau said.

Domestic visitors also are expected to come to the city in record numbers this year, with 2% more visitors projected to visit in 2000 than in 1999, according to the bureau.

The bureau projects that hotel occupancy will average 80% in 2000, when an additional 3,000 rooms will come on line, bringing the total room count to more than 60,000.

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