NYC Tourism Trend Report

 This October, NYC & Company (the city’s official tourism arm) released its first-ever New York City Travel + Tourism Trend Report, recapping 2014 tourism activity and forecasting tourism trends through 2018.

The entire report is worth a read; you’ll need to be a member of NYC & Company if you’re not already.  But we also went through the report to highlight the key opportunities in the next three years for Broadway and New York’s cultural institutions.

What kind of growth will NYC see in visitation?

Last year, NYC welcomed 56.5 million visitors – 44.5m domestic and 12m international.  The international figure is important because even though they only account for a fifth of visitors, they stay longer and spend more – accounting for almost half of the money spent by visitors. NYC & Company projects that we will welcome 62.4m visitors by 2018 – with 13.7m of those coming from other countries.  We did a quick comparison between reported international visits to New York in 2014 to figures reported by the Broadway League in their most recent study (The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2013-2014).

While the timeline doesn’t match up exactly (we’re comparing the 2014 calendar year for tourism stats to the 2013-14 Broadway season for Broadway stats), it still provides an interesting look at which markets are most predisposed to buying theatre tickets:

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Some of this is fascinating – while this can’t account for visitors seeing multiple shows during one trip, Canada and Australia really stand out for how essential a Broadway show is as a component of their trip to NYC.  We can’t dive further into theatergoing habits in specific countries in Asia with the data as it’s currently reported, but we know from attending tourism trade fairs and reviewing fact sheets produced by NYC & Company that Japan and South Korea over-index in Broadway attendance for the region while China and India under-index.

Now, let’s extrapolate this a bit.  NYC & Company has projected growth for their top twenty markets through 2018.  What does that mean for Broadway attendance if the percentage of visitors who see a show holds steady?

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The great work that NYC & Company is doing to drive tourism will continue to have a positive impact on the economics of our shows.  The challenge for us as marketers is to reach these buyers before they’re in-market and then to continue to use mobile, outdoor and every other tool at our disposal to drive ticket sales for our shows before they’re distracted by all of the other terrific activities NYC has to offer.

And the second challenge?  Increasing attendance from the Chinese market, which will represent over one million visitors a year (along with the UK, Canada and Brazil) by 2018.