(New York, February 11, 2016)—Three exhibitions presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in summer 2015—China: Through the Looking Glass, The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe, and Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends—generated an estimated $946 million in spending in New York, according to a visitor survey released by the Museum today. Using the industry standard for calculating tax revenue impact, the study found that the direct tax benefit to the City and State from out-of-town visitors to the Museum totaled some $94.6 million. Fifty-four percent of the out-of-town exhibition visitors reported that visiting the Met was a key motivating factor in their decision to visit New York. (See survey findings below.)
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum, said: “We were so gratified to see that visitors—local, national, and international—responded in record numbers to our exhibitions and collections this year. The Met remains the number one attraction in New York City, while simultaneously playing an important role in the lives of so many New Yorkers. The strong attendance to China: Through the Looking Glass—the fifth-highest-attended exhibition in the Museum’s history—and other exhibitions clearly influenced the economic impact number, which is the highest ever reported by our survey.”
In the summer 2015 period, the Costume Institute’s exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, on view May 7–September 7, 2015, drew 815,992 visitors. Attendance for The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe was 483,208 during its run from May 12 through November 1. And Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends had a total attendance of 254,750 from June 30 through October 4, 2015. (Further details about these exhibitions appear below.)
The survey was conducted from May 12 through September 7, 2015. During that period, the Met welcomed 2.5 million visitors, 74% of whom came from outside the five boroughs of New York City—28% were domestic and 46% were international tourists. Eighty-three percent of travelers reported staying overnight in the City and, of these, 75% stayed in a hotel, B&B, hostel, or rented apartment. The average length of stay was 6.7 days. These out-of-town visitors reported spending an average of $1,145 per person ($762 for lodging, sightseeing, entertainment, admission to museums, and local transportation, and another $383 for shopping).
Fifty-four percent of Met out-of-town visitors to the exhibitions cited the Museum as a key motivating factor in visiting New York City. Using a scale of zero to ten, 54% gave a rating of 8 or above when asked how important seeing the Met was in motivating them to visit New York. The primary purpose of traveling to New York was pleasure for 84% of visitors, business for 4%, and combined business and pleasure for 12%. The estimated economic impact is $511 million for the portion of visitors who reported their visit was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, and $341 million for those who said the exhibitions were a key motivation, yielding an estimated tax benefit of $51.1 million and $34.1 million, respectively.
The full-year estimate of visitor spending in New York, by out-of-town visitors to the Museum in Fiscal Year 2015, is $5.41 billion. During that fiscal year (July 1, 2014–June 30, 2015), The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomed a record 6.3 million visitors, 26% of them from NYC, and 74% from outside the five boroughs.
Economic impact is calculated using the standard estimated sales tax rate.
The latest economic impact survey was conducted by the Museum’s Office of Market Research.
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February 11, 2016
Results of Visitor Survey
The number of visitors surveyed was 1,046. Eighty-six percent of visitors reported that they planned to see at least one of the four exhibitions in this study. The economic impact is based on people who actually visited at least one of these exhibitions.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art—the most visited cultural attraction in New York City—welcomed 6.3 million visitors in Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015).
Survey Results: Visitor Demographics
Of the Museum’s 2.5 million visitors from May 12 through September 7 (the time frame of this study), 74% came from outside the five boroughs of New York City. Approximately one-third of those out-of-town visitors were domestic and the other two-thirds international tourists. International visitors on average spend more and stay longer than domestic visitors.
The total estimated visitor spending in New York City by out-of-town visitors to the Museum’s summer exhibitions is $946 million. Using the standard estimated 10% tax rate (combining sales and hotel taxes), the tax benefit for New York City and State would be $94.6 million for all visitors.
Fifty-four percent of the out-of-town visitors reported that visiting the Met was a key motivating factor in their decision to visit New York City. Thirty-six percent of the out-of-town visitors said that seeing one of the three exhibitions was an important motivating factor in planning their visit to New York. Using a scale of zero (not at all important) to ten (very important), 36% of visitors gave a rating of 8 or above in regard to the exhibitions, and 54% gave a rating of 8 or above to visiting the Museum in general.
The estimated visitor spending is $511 million for just the portion of visitors who reported their visit was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, and $341 million for the portion of visitors who reported that the exhibitions were a key motivation for their trip, yielding an estimated tax benefit of $51.1 million and $34.1 million, respectively.
Visitors from out-of-town reported spending on average $1,145 per person during their stay in New York City: $762 for expenses and $383 for shopping. Expenses included hotel, dining, entertainment, and local transportation but excluded transportation to the City.
Eighty-three percent of the out-of-town visitors stayed overnight in the City and, of these, 75% stayed in a hotel, B&B, hostel, or rented apartment. The average length of stay was 6.7 days.
Museum visitors are active participants in other cultural activities. During their visit to New York, 67% visited other museums, 51% saw a Broadway or theatrical show, and 33% visited an art gallery. These results indicate that Met Museum visitors continue a wide participation in multiple cultural activities while in New York.
In terms of other leisure activities, 59% of visitors shopped while in New York and 41% dined at a restaurant.
Full-year Estimate of Visitor Spending
The full-year estimate of visitor spending in New York, by out-of-town visitors to the Museum in Fiscal Year 2015, is $5.41 billion. During that fiscal year, The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomed a record 6.3 million visitors, 26% of them from NYC, and 74% from outside the five boroughs.
For those whose visit to New York was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, the estimated annual impact is $2.92 billion, with a tax impact of $292 million.
New York City Residents
This year, for the first time, the economic impact study included a separate section for New York City residents who visit the Met, asking about the importance of different factors in their decision to live in the City.
Sixty-seven percent indicated that cultural attractions and activities are very important in their decision to live in New York City, and 53% indicated that The Metropolitan Museum of Art is very important in their decision to live in New York City.
Exhibitions Included in Survey
China: Through the Looking Glass
May 7 – September 7, 2015
Total Visitors: 815,992
The Costume Institute’s spring 2015 exhibition, presented in the Museum’s Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, explored how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries, resulting in highly creative distortions of cultural realities. High fashion was juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, as well as films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery. From the earliest period of European contact with China in the 16th century, the West has been fascinated with enigmatic objects from the East, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, whose fashions are infused with romance, nostalgia, and make-believe. Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoined disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.
The exhibition was made possible by Yahoo.
Additional support was provided by Condé Nast and several Chinese donors.
The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe
May 12 – November 1, 2015
Total Visitors: 483,208
This spring Pierre Huyghe (born 1962, Paris) installed the third in a new series of site-specific commissions for the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Huyghe has spent the past 25 years working across media to create ritualistic and immersive encounters with art. At the Met, his project explored the continuous transformation of cultural and natural systems through a complex grouping of heterogeneous elements derived from the Museum’s collection, architecture, and its environs. A related installation, Pierre Huyghe: Human Mask, presented the New York premiere of Huyghe's new 19-minute video, Untitled (Human Mask), which portrays a mysterious creature's resilience in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters (through August 9).
Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Additional support was provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends
June 30 – October 4, 2015
Total Visitors: 254,750
John Singer Sargent’s portraits of artists, writers, actors, and musicians constitute a gathering of highly charged, intimate, witty, idiosyncratic, and experimental paintings and drawings. Through these distinctive works, the exhibition explored the underlying friendships between Sargent and his sitters—including Rodin, Monet, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Henry James—and considered their significance for his life and art.
The exhibition was made possible by The Marguerite and Frank A. Cosgrove Jr. Fund.
It was organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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