NYC tourism takes hit after tragedies in Japan

March 18, 2011 2:20:48 PM PDT
Tourism in New York City has taken a hit because of the tragedies now unfolding in Japan.

At the Kitano Hotel in Midtown about 1/3 of its customers are usually visiting from Japan.

The company's headquartered in Tokyo but since the earthquake a lot has changed at this company.

"There is an impact, we've had a number of cancellations, bookings are down, currently through this week and into next month really," General Manager Clement Carey said.

The Japanese crisis led to the Nikkei falling more than 15% this week.

That rippled through the American and worldwide economies.

But things have bounced back some. Experts say the reason might be because Japan's economy simply doesn't have the impact that it did 10 or 15 years ago.

Business columnist Greg David said, "The Japanese economy has been stagnating for 15 years. It has affected virtually everything; their investments in New York, the tourists who come to New York."

David used to run Crain's New York.

This week he wrote a surprising column; that Japan's impact on New York right now is minimal.

For example:

  • Rockefeller Center in 1989 was snapped up by a Japanese company but the economy went south and now Rockefeller Center is American owned.
  • Japan now ranks only 7th for goods being imported into New York ports.
  • As for tourism, New York used to have tons of Japanese tourists but not so much anymore.
  • "Only about 200,000 [Japanese tourists] each year. By comparison, each year Canada and Britain combined send 2 million tourists to New York," David said.