New York and Los Angeles set visitor records in 2018, and despite concerns about the slowing growth in inbound visitation, both saw increases in international travelers.
A record 65.2 million visitors went to the Big Apple in 2018, 13.5 million that were international. Of Los Angeles’ record 50 million visitors, 7.5 million were international, up 3.6%.
Apparently, the trade war with China did not dampen Chinese visitation to the two cities. Visitation to Los Angeles grew 6.9% to an all-time high of 1.2 million visitors, making it the top U.S. city for Chinese travelers. And 1.1 million of New York’s visitors were from China, up slightly over 2017.
Los Angeles also enjoyed the highest-ever visitation from Mexico with 1.8 million visitors, up 4% after a slight decrease in 2017. Canadian visitation to L.A. jumped to 780,000, up 4.5%.
For New York and Los Angeles, 2018 marked the ninth and eighth consecutive year of tourism growth, respectively. The challenge will be in keeping those streaks going into 2019.
NYC & Company, the city’s tourism marketing arm, already predicts that more than 67 million visitors will visit New York City in 2019, a year during which the U.S. Travel Association recently said that international travel growth would fizzle to 1% for the first five months, a drop from 3.8% growth for the same period in 2018.
The Association cited rising trade tensions, softening global growth and the increase in the value of the dollar against other currencies as factors in their pessimistic prediction.