Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that the city is expected to surpass that total by the end of the year.
The 50 millionth tourist is expected sometime this week.
When Bloomberg first announced the goal in 2006, the most recent yearly total was under 43 million.
He projected it would take until 2015 to reach 50 million visitors. In 2008, he moved the deadline up to 2012.
The city's official tourism arm, NYC & Company, projects tourists will spend $32 billion in the city this year, helping to support about 320,000 jobs.
Tourists spend more in New York than anywhere else in the nation.