Visitors to The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s presentation of four special exhibitions during the spring/summer 2014 season—Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century; The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt; Charles James: Beyond Fashion; and Garry Winogrand—generated an estimated $753 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 $75.3 million. (Study findings below.) 53% of the out-of-town exhibition visitors reported that visiting the Met was a key motivating factor in their decision to visit New York. (The latest economic impact survey was conducted by the Museum’s Office of Market Research.)
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum, noted: “As this annual survey continues to indicate, the Met’s stellar range of exhibitions, as well as its renowned collection, are recognized world-wide for their excellence, and continue to draw domestic and international visitors to New York in large numbers. This visitorship plays a vital role in the City’s cultural tourism, which is a powerful contributor to the economic well-being of New York.”
Emily K. Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum—who also serves as chair of NYC & Company, the City’s official tourism agency—stated: “With travelers still coming to New York in record-breaking numbers, the Metropolitan Museum continues to hold its place as the most-visited cultural attraction in the City. We are pleased to see through this survey that the Met remains such a strong motivating force for our visitors from outside the five boroughs of New York City.”
In the spring/summer 2014 period, Lost Kingdoms, on view from April 14 through July 27, drew 197,710 visitors. Attendance for The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt was 559,876 during its run from April 29 through November 2. This spring’s Costume Institute exhibition on Charles James attracted 505,307 visitors from May 8 through August 10, and Garry Winogrand had a total attendance of 165,579 from June 27 through September 21, 2014. (Further details about each exhibition appear below.)
The survey found that 79% of the Museum’s visitors from May through August traveled from outside the five boroughs of New York City. Of these travelers, approximately half were domestic, and the other half international tourists. Eighty percent of travelers reported staying overnight in the City and, of these, 70% stayed in a hotel, hostel, or rented apartment. The average length of stay was 6.3 days. These out-of-town visitors reported spending an average of $1,122 per person ($746 for lodging, sightseeing, entertainment, admission to museums, and local transportation, and another $376 for shopping).
Fifty-three percent of Met out-of-town visitors cited the Met as a key motivating factor in visiting New York City. Using a scale of zero to ten, 28% of visitors responded with a rating of 8 or above when asked how important seeing one of the four exhibitions was in motivating them to visit New York, and 53% gave a rating of 8 or above with regard to the Met in general. The primary purpose of traveling to New York was pleasure for 84% of visitors, business for 3%, and combined business and pleasure for 13%. The estimated economic impact is $399 million for the portion of visitors who reported their visit was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, and $211 million for those who said the exhibitions were a key motivation, yielding an estimated tax benefit of $39.9 million and $21.1 million, respectively.
The number of visitors surveyed was 1,171. 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 6.2 million visitors in Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014).
Of the Museum’s 2.2 million visitors from May through August (the time frame of this study),79% came from outside the five boroughs of New York City. Approximately half of those out-of-town visitors were domestic and the other half 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 spring/summer exhibitions is $753 million. Using the standard estimated 10% tax rate (combining sales and hotel taxes), the tax benefit for New York City and State would be $75.3 million for all visitors.
Fifty-three 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. 28% of the out-of-town visitors said that seeing one of the four exhibitions (Lost Kingdoms, The Roof Garden Commission, Charles James, and Garry Winogrand) was an important motivating factor in visiting New York. Using a scale of zero (not at all important) to ten (very important), 28% of visitors gave a rating of 8 or above in regard to the exhibitions, and 53% gave a rating of 8 or above to visiting the Museum in general.
The estimated visitor spending is $399 million for just the portion of visitors who reported their visit was highly motivated by a trip to the Museum, and $211 million for the portion of visitors who reported that the exhibitions were a key motivation for their trip, yielding an estimated tax benefit of $39.9 million, and $21.1 million, respectively.
Visitors from out-of-town reported spending on average $1,122 per person during their stay in New York City: $746 for expenses and $376 for shopping. Expenses included hotel, dining, entertainment, and local transportation but excluded transportation to the City. Eighty percent of the out-of-town visitors stayed overnight in the City and, of these, 70% stayed in a hotel, hostel, or rented apartment. The average length of stay was 6.3 days. Museum visitors are active participants in other cultural activities. During their visit to New York, 87% visited other museums, 50% saw a Broadway or theatrical show, and 37% 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, 65% of visitors shopped while in New York and 51% dined at a restaurant.
The full-year estimate of visitor spending in New York, by out-of-town visitors to the Museum in Fiscal Year 2014, is $5.13 billion. During that year, The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomed 6.2 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 $2.72 billion, with a tax impact of $272 million.
Exhibitions Included in Survey
Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century
April 14 – July 27, 2014 (15 weeks)
Total Visitors: 197,710
Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Centurywas the first international loan exhibition devoted to the early art of Southeast Asia. The 160 sculptures on view—from Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam—provided a unique window onto these forgotten cultures. The exhibition was made possible by the Placido Arango Fund, the Fred Eychaner Fund, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by Jim Thompson America, Inc. and Bangkok Broadcasting & T.V. Co., Ltd.
The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt
April 29 – November 2, 2014 (27 weeks)
Total Visitors: 559,876
The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt created an entirely new terrain of steel and two-way mirrored glass set between ivy hedgerows that engaged with issues of urbanity, public space, and the viewer’s own experience within it. The exhibition was made possible by Bloomberg. Additional support was provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
Charles James: Beyond Fashion
May 8 – August 10, 2014 (13 weeks)
Total Visitors: 505,307
Charles James: Beyond Fashion examined the career of the legendary 20th-century Anglo-American couturier (1906-1978), whose ball gowns and innovative tailoring continue to influence fashion designers today. The exhibition was made possible by AERIN. Additional support was provided by Condé Nast.
June 27 – September 21, 2014 (12 weeks)
Total Visitors: 165,579
Garry Winogrand, a retrospective of one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, featured approx. 175 of his best-known photographs from his 30-year career.
The exhibition was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The international tour of this exhibition was sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Leadership support was provided by Randi and Bob Fisher. Additional support was provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation. Economic impact is calculated using the standard estimated sales tax rate.