New York City attracted almost 49-million tourists last year, an all-time record, despite the ongoing effects of the recession, according to the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The 2010 figure, which firmly places the city on a pace to draw 50-million visitors this year (Bloomberg’s target), was 7 percent higher than the 45.5-million from 2009.

New York City was, for the second year in a row, America's number one tourist destination, Bloomberg said.

On the whole, tourists (many from foreign nations with stronger currencies than the U.S. dollar) spent a total of $31-billion in the city, a 10 percent improvement from 2009, the mayor stated.

“The strength of our tourism industry is one of the reasons New York City was less impacted by the national recession than other cities,” Bloomberg said, “and it continues to be one of the reasons we’re growing faster than other cities today.”

Bloomberg also noted that the city’s hospitality sector (which includes hotels, restaurants, museums, among others) created 6,600 jobs last year and now employs a total of about 320,000 workers, the most ever.

According to NYC & Co., the city’s official tourism department, the city’s hotels sold 25.7 million room nights last year, another new record, and 2-million ahead of 2009’s figure. Moreover, the city added 7000 new hotel rooms over the past year, a 7 percent increase from 2009.

“Tourism is our replacement for industry,” Bloomberg added, referring to the long-fading manufacturing sector.