Amidst Gloomy Season, Bloomberg Touts Tourism Numbers

nyctourists 01 Amidst Gloomy Season, Bloomberg Touts Tourism NumbersThe murder rate is up. Snow, and now garbage, remains piled high on sidewalks.  Cathie Black began her first day as chancellor of the city’s schools, over the deep suspicion if not outright opposition of many parents, pols and educators.

But amidst all these gloomy newspaper headlines, which have lead to a drop in his approval rating, Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out today with new numbers showing that a record-breaking 48.7 million tourists visited the city in 2010, a 6 percent increase over the previous year.

The administration has set a target of attracting 50 million annual visitors by 2012, a goal which Bloomberg said the city is on pace to reach.

“The strength of our tourism industry is one of the reasons New York City was less impacted by the national recession than other cities, and it continues to be one of the reasons we’re growing faster than other cities today,” Bloomberg said. “We’re constantly looking for ways to strengthen and diversify our economy, and growing our tourism industry is an important part of that work.”

The mayor noted that over 300,000 people were employed in the city in the high tourist season, and that visitors pumped $31 billion into the local economy.