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Free-spending foreign tourists hit NYC

  |   Aug. 2, 2008 at 6:59 PM
NEW YORK, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- With the euro, yen and pound all up against the U.S. dollar, New York City is on track to welcome a record number of foreign tourists this summer.

The tourism and marketing bureau said there were 3.12 million visitors from overseas in 2007, a 20 percent increase over 2006. This summer, they expect to top that by about 120,000, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Some New Yorkers have mixed feelings about the foreign invasion. They recognize that the visitors, taking advantage of the currency situation are helping to keep the city's economy afloat, but they feel twinges of resentment.

Jessica Le, who works for an investment bank, said she has started walking dogs so she can eat out with her foreign friends. Polly Blitzer told the Times she and her fiance had a hard time getting attention in the shoe department at Bergdorf Goodman because they were behind a European couple who had made "massive purchases."

"Sometimes you feel like it's going to become a situation where they stop and take a picture -- 'Look at that endangered species -- a native New Yorker, with a briefcase, going to work,"' said Steven Schoenfeld, an investment manager.

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