Though the country was rocked by recession and inundated by floods, Irish shoppers still winged their way to New York City to splash the cash in 2009.

Whether it was the magical savings to be made at Macys, of the tantalizing deals to be found in Tiffany’s, energized shoppers hit the Big Apple from the Emerald Isle with a vengeance last year.

NYC & Company, the Dublin based company that promotes New York Tourisn, reported that their biggest tour operators, Sunway and Tour America, had more business in 2009 than in 2008.

"Whilst the Irish figures to New York City for 2009 are not yet available, I am confident that the 2009 figures will be strong,” said John Donoghue of NYC & Company.

Though the 2009 figures will not be released until March, it is expected that the number of Irish tourists who visited New York will be well up on the 353,000 that came to the city in 2008.

November and December were high travel months for Irish shoppers. The two Fitzpatrick hotels in Manhattan reported that 60 per cent of those who stayed there during this period were from the Emerald Isle.

Newly inaugurated New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 45 million tourists came to the city in 2008 because of the huge commitment that was made to make it a must-visit location.

“Over the past eight years, our efforts to make New York City an even more exciting place to visit have helped produce a record number of tourists and create thousands of jobs,” said Bloomberg.

"While tourism declined significantly in cities across the country, we fared far better than most. In fact, for the first time in 20 years, we were the most popular tourism destination in the country, surpassing Orlando, and our leisure and hospitality jobs rose."

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