New York looks to China and Brazil for big tourism growth

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New York aims to boost tourism's annual economic impact by almost 45% during the next three years by increasing marketing efforts in South America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Between 2011 and 2015, the number of annual visits from China and Hong Kong will jump 51% to 494,000, while the number of annual visits from Brazil will rise 45% to 1.02 million, projected NYC & Company, New York's tourism-marketing organization.

New York also expects large increases in visitors from South Korea and Argentina, according to NYC & Company.

In a presentation at the International Pow Wow conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, NYC & Company forecasted that travel and tourism will have an economic impact totaling $70 billion in 2015, up from $48.5 billion in 2011.

NYC & Company said the number of international visitors will increase 26% to 11.1 million in 2015, while the number of visitors from the U.S. will rise 7.2% to 43.2 million.

"We've been lucky to be ahead of the curve, and have been investing heavily in the foreign market for a few years," said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, adding that New York's overseas market share of international visitors is 33%. "Each market share point means $600 million in direct spending."

If the city reaches its $70 billion goal, New York will have almost doubled both visitor count and economic impact between 2005 and 2015, said NYC & Company. About two-thirds of the economic impact is from direct tourist spending, while the rest is a measure of job creation.

Last year, New York attracted a record 50.6 million visitors, with 80% coming from within the U.S. NYC & Company is forecasting that the city's visitor count will hit 55.9 million in 2015.

New York visitors spent $32.5 billion last year, up 3.2% from the $31.5 billion spent a year earlier.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.

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