updated 10/24/2006 4:27:58 PM ET 2006-10-24T20:27:58

Business on Broadway last season was buoyed again by tourists, according to a report by the League of American Theatres and Producers, and the Internet has cemented its place as the most popular way to buy tickets.

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The details were released Tuesday in the league’s annual “Demographics of the Broadway Audience” report.

Tourists, both foreign and domestic, purchased some 57 percent of the 12 million tickets sold during last season, Charlotte St. Martin, the league’s executive director, said.

“Our efforts to bring back foreign tourists, who are a vital part of the Broadway audience, and contribute significantly to the city’s economy as a whole, have yielded great results, bouncing back to pre 9/11 levels,” she said.

Attendance by theatergoers from foreign countries has nearly doubled since the Sept. 11, 2001, falloff, climbing to 1.32 million during the 2005-2006 Broadway season. During the 2001-2002 season, international visitors numbered 525,834.

Attendance by New Yorkers also climbed, rising to 2.29 million last season, up from 2.05 million the previous year.

The majority of Broadway theatergoers continued to be white, some 77 percent, although 2.72 million nonwhites attended shows, the highest number in seven years and an increase of 6 percent over the 2004-2005 season. Among the most popular shows of the season was “The Color Purple,” which has drawn a more ethnically diverse audience.

Over the last five years, Internet purchase of tickets has skyrocketed, jumping from 7 percent to 32 percent of all tickets sold. And more than a quarter of ticket buyers — 27 percent — bought their tickets on the day of performance, the highest level in six years.

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