NEW YORK - NEW YORK CITY'S bedbugs have climbed out of bed and marched into landmarks like the Empire State Building, Bloomingdale's and Lincoln Center, causing fresh anxiety among tourists who are cancelling vacations planned for the height of the holiday season.

Some travellers who had arranged trips to New York say they are worried about staying in hotels and visiting attractions as new reports of bedbugs seem to pop up every few days. And officials in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration are concerned about the effect on the city's image and US$30 billion (S$38.8 billion) tourism industry.

The discoveries of pests at high-profile places are often not full-blown infestations, or even in public areas. Bloomingdale's reported finding exactly one bug in the famous department store, the Empire State Building had them in the basement and Lincoln Center's were in a dressing room.

But those reports, along with bedbug discoveries in movie theatres, hotels and clothing chain stores, are causing skittish travellers to call off trips planned months ago.

Industry professionals - who have privately told city officials that they are nervous about bedbugs hurting New York's reputation - say publicly that they are not aware of any bedbug-related cancellations. But several would-be tourists tracked down by The Associated Press say they are aborting their trips here because they fear the bloodsucking pests.

'It sounds like you can get them anywhere, any time of day and not know it until you get home,' said Patty Majerik, from Baltimore.

Bedbugs creep out NYC