UK market to New York tops one million for first time since pandemic

The UK has maintained its position as the number one international market to New York, with projections of a return to pre-pandemic visitor numbers in 2025.

The market accounted for 1.03 million visitors in 2023 and is forecast to deliver 1.19 million in 2024 on the back of increased airlift. Prior to the pandemic, 1.26 million visited in 2018 and 1.27 million in 2019.

NYC Tourism + Conventions chief executive Fred Dixon hailed the impact of trade partnerships and consumer marketing for driving the recovery as he expressed confidence that visitor levels would continue to grow despite pressure on disposable income and a challenging exchange rate.

Marketing focuses for the city include arts and culture, history and sport. Travel trade content for a new campaign called ‘Founded by NYC’ is now available, with a focus on the historical impact of the city as it prepares to celebrate the 400th anniversary of its founding in 2025 and the 250th anniversary of the US in 2026.

Most up-to-date visitor data for 2022 showed the UK market was dominated by leisure travel, accounting for 88% of visits, including 19% who were visiting friends and relatives.

Dixon said travel for sporting events represented a major opportunity for further growth, with the city and neighbouring New Jersey due to host the football World Cup final and seven other matches in 2026.

He added: “The summer of 2026 is going to be gangbusters but we are already looking at how we can extend that interest throughout the year and particularly into the shoulder seasons.”

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