New York is on track to welcome 1.24 million visitors from the UK this year and is confident that the market will overcome political and economic uncertainty to hold up in 2019.
Fred Dixon, chief executive of marketing body NYC & Company, said forecasters were looking closely at the performance of sterling as Brexit negotiations caused volatility.
But he said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the UK market to the city would remain strong.
“The UK knows us better than any other market and we are often a city break rather than the ‘big’ holiday that people may look to cut back on,” he said.
“We are cautiously optimistic for next year, and across markets we are seeing things return to some level of normalcy.”
UK visitor numbers fell year-on-year in 2017, but the projected figure for 2018 returns to a growth pattern that has otherwise been consistent since 2012.
Dixon said the city’s Year of Pride would attract UK visitors in 2019, with a year-round calendar of events and exhibitions celebrating LGBT culture centring on WorldPride in June and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
Other significant milestones include the opening of the massive Hudson Yards development, including the Thomas Heatherwick-designed climbable landmark Vessel and The Shed, a multi-arts centre hosting a series of unique mash-up events and exhibitions.
Hotel development continues at pace, with the city’s inventory of rooms expected to grow from 118,000 currently to 129,000 by the end of 2019. Overall inventory is projected to reach 137,000 by 2021, almost doubling the number of rooms in the city in the space of a decade.
Dixon added: “We have seen 40 consecutive months of increasing demand and occupancy has remained. There has been a bit of an uptick in ADR (average daily rates), but on a like-for-like basis a hotel stay is still better value than pre-2008.
“That is a message we want to promote as we enter the first quarter, which has traditionally been the best-value time to visit. In 2019 we have a period between January 21 and February 8 when our Restaurant Week, Broadway Week and Must-See Week overlap, so with many retailers also holding post-holiday sales, there is a really compelling message for those looking for the best value.”
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