(New York, September 9, 2003) – Tourists visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art's acclaimed Spring 2003 exhibition, Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting, spent a combined $368 million during their visits to New York City, according to a Museum audience survey released today.

Total attendance at the landmark traveling exhibition, which was on view at the Metropolitan Museum from March 4 to June 29, 2003, exceeded 553,000. Nearly three-quarters of these visitors were found to have traveled to New York from outside the City's five boroughs – 17% from the Metropolitan area outside New York City, 41% from the rest of the United States, and 14% from foreign countries – and spent a total of $368 million in the City on lodging, food, and related expenses during their stays.

The economic development impact on the City does not directly benefit the Museum itself, which maintains a policy of not imposing extra admission fees on visitors to special exhibitions. Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

David E. McKinney, President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, noted: "As the current survey indicates, the Metropolitan Museum – and the special exhibitions it organizes – are a determining factor in motivating people to visit New York. Given the recent struggles to maintain travel and tourism to New York, we are particularly proud of our important contribution to the City's economic health."

The survey of Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting is the most recent of a series of audience studies undertaken regularly by the Metropolitan to measure the economic impact of special exhibitions. The findings from the current survey are consistent with trends that have been observed in previous studies, including a decline in foreign tourism since September 11, 2001.

In a 1997 audience assessment conducted by the Metropolitan in conjunction with The Glory of Byzantium, it was estimated that tourists visiting the exhibition spent approximately $184 million during their New York stay. In 1999-2000, visitors to Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids were found to have generated an economic impact of approximately $307 million in the City. The Museum's study of visitors to Leonard da Vinci, Master Draftsman earlier this spring found the economic impact of tourists to be approximately $220 million.

Some 49% of the out-of-town visitors surveyed in the new study specified that the exhibition Manet/Velázquez was a deciding factor in their travel, and these visitors alone spent approximately $182 million, generating an estimated $18 million in direct tax revenues for the City and State.

Economic impact estimates for Manet/Velázquez were drawn from an audience survey conducted by the Museum's Office of Research and Evaluation, under the leadership of Jeffrey K. Smith, Professor of Educational Statistics and Measurement and Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University. The survey conducted and analyzed interviews with a sample of 457 randomly chosen visitors to the Museum. Interviewees were asked why they chose to visit New York and how much money they spent on lodging, food, and shopping while in the City. From this information, the impact these visitors had on the City's economy was assessed. The survey was conducted during the weeks of March 16 and June 9, 2003 (while Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman was also on view), and was spaced over several days of the week and times of day to be representative of the visiting population.

Visitors from outside the five boroughs of New York contribute to the City's economy by spending money on hotel rooms, travel, meals, shopping, and entertainment. The estimated average per person expenditure for all out-of-town visitors – including those from all parts of the United States as well as international travelers – was $513 for expenses, with an additional $409 for shopping. By projecting this figure for the duration of the show for all out-of-town visitors, the economic impact of this population was determined to be approximately $368 million.

Using the standard estimate of 10% (combining sales and hotel taxes), the direct tax benefit to New York City and New York State from these visitors is estimated at $36 million.

Of the respondents residing outside the City, 56% reported that a visit to the Metropolitan Museum was an important reason in their decision to travel to New York. The total economic impact of this group alone, projected to the total run of the exhibition, is $233 million.

The Metropolitan's presentation of Manet/Velázquez constituted the exhibition's second venue and its only showing in the United States. The exhibition was also on view in Paris.

Accenture is the proud sponsor of the exhibition.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Musée d'Orsay.


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