NEW YORK, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- An exhibit of paintings by El Greco, the 16th century Spanish artist, at the Metropolitan Museum last fall added $345 million to the coffers of New York.
According to a museum audience survey released Friday business in New York City as well as the city and state themselves benefited.
The survey showed that nearly three-quarters of the 574,000 visitors to the show had traveled from outside the city and said the exhibition was important in their decision to visit New York. The out-of-city viewers, 17 percent from foreign countries, reported spending $345 million in the city on lodging, food, and related expenses.
The museum used standard ratios for calculating tax revenue benefits to the city and state from these visitors as $14.5 million. The museum itself claimed no direct benefits from the exhibit since all exhibitions are free with museum admission.
David E. McKinney, president of the Metropolitan, said the survey "makes the case strongly that the Met is a major generator of revenue for the city" and noted that three blockbuster shows at the museum in 2003 -- El Greco, Leonardo da Vinci and a joint showing of Edouard Manet and Diego Velazquez -- had a total economic impact of $933 million.