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PR- 016-05
January 10, 2005


Mayor Kicks-off ‘Paint the Town’ – New York City’s Winter Travel Promotion

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company Chairman Jonathan M. Tisch and President & CEO Cristyne L. Nicholas today announced a record-breaking city tourism forecast for 2004 that showed the total number of visitors jumping 4.6% over 2003 to 39.6 million with growth in all major categories. This includes a double-digit increase of 10.2% in the lucrative international visitor segment, which is the first time these numbers have risen since September 11th.  The strength of New York City's tourism industry is reflected in a direct spending projection of $15.1 billion and $220 million in hotel tax revenue in 2004.  The Mayor made the announcement at the Bronx Zoo, where he kicked-off Paint the Town, NYC & Company's annual winter travel savings program which runs through February 28th. During the announcement, the Mayor and NYC & Company also outlined a hospitality community tsunami relief effort.

"Today, I'm happy to announce that our tourism industry, which generates about $23 billion a year in business activity and supports more than a quarter-million jobs in our city, is setting new records," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With our unique variety of cultural and recreational attractions, our standing as the safest big City in America, it's no wonder that visitors are coming here in record numbers. Our world-class Bronx Zoo, the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art, and The Gates, a magnificent, temporary public work of art by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which opens in Central Park next month, played and will play a big part in making New York City the ideal travel and business destination. And to capitalize on this growth, we're bringing visitors discounts on attractions throughout the five boroughs as part of Paint the Town, our annual winter tourism promotion."

"The projected 2004 visitor numbers underscore the important role that tourism plays in driving New York City's economy - generating new jobs, economic activity and essential tax revenues that benefit all five boroughs," said NYC & Company Chairman Jonathan Tisch. "Paint the Town is a fantastic partnership of New York City's hotels, restaurants theaters, museums, shops and cultural attractions that both augment the visitor experience and boost the local economy."

"All indicators point to 2005 as another watershed year for New York City's visitor industry with more than 40 million visitors - including almost six million international tourists - expected this year," said NYC & Company President & CEO Cristyne Nicholas. "Paint the Town makes it easy and affordable to plan an exciting urban getaway in the world's greatest city."

City Tourism Marketing Efforts and Weak Dollar Spur Double-Digit Growth in International Visitors

International travel to New York City increased 10.2% from 4.8 million to 5.3 million visitors in this valuable market which generates 40% of all visitor spending.  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey report air travel through New York City's airports is on track to break new records with 39 million air passengers (+13%), including 11.3 million international arrivals, welcomed at the New York area's three airports through October 2004.   

New York City's major international feeder markets are expected to show strong and sustained rates of increase in 2004 including: a 12% increase from the United Kingdom, a 15% increase from Germany, a 15% increase from France and an 18% increase from Italy.  Travel from Japan, where NYC & Company launched an international tourism marketing campaign last spring featuring Yankee outfielder Hideki Matsui, has surged by 20%.

New York City's Hotel Occupancy Climbs to Highest Levels in Four Years

Hotel occupancy in New York City rose to 83% in 2004 after falling from 84.6% in 2000 to a low of 73.4% in 2001.  The average daily rate has increased from a five-year low of $193 in 2003 to $212 in 2004.  An estimated $220 million in hotel tax revenues from 2004 will help support vital city services. NYC & Company's visitor information centers also experienced record usage with a 23% total increase over the previous year to more than three-quarters of a million visitors served in 2004.

Paint the Town, produced by NYC & Company and presented by American Express, provides visitors with discounts and exclusive offers at more than 250 participating businesses and attractions throughout the city.  This year, participating NYC & Company Signature Collection luxury hotels will offer guests a complimentary third night when booking a two-night stay with an American Express card.  This special luxury promotion, which runs through February 10th, includes the The Carlyle Hotel, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Mandarin Oriental, New York, The Mark, New York, The New York Palace Hotel, The Plaza Hotel, The Regency, The St. Regis New York, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and The Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

For information about Paint the Town or to receive your free copy of the Paint the Town guide detailing 'do-it-yourself' savings throughout the city, call (800) NYC-GUIDE in the U.S. and Canada or log onto  Information is also available at NYC & Company's four Official Visitor Information Centers: midtown at 810 Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street, downtown at City Hall Park at the intersection of Park Row and Broadway, in Harlem in the State Office Building Plaza at 163 West 125th Street at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and in Chinatown at the triangle where Canal, Walker, and Baxter Streets meet. 

NYC Hospitality Industry Tsunami Relief Effort

The Mayor and NYC & Company today also announced an industry-wide tourism effort to drive donations to organizations working to provide disaster relief. Donation envelopes will be distributed in New York City's official visitor information centers, at travel industry events, to patrons dining out during Winter Restaurant Week and through participating tourism industry partners including hotels, attractions, museums, restaurants and retail stores.  NYC & Company will contribute $25,000 through its Foundation, as well as the net proceeds from Winter Restaurant Week reservations made through  This special NYC & Company initiative is made possible through the support of the Bear Stearns Company. 

"As we look ahead to a bright future, it is important not to forget about those who are less fortunate; that's why I'm proud to see our hospitality industry is doing all it can to help the survivors of the terrible tsunami in South and Southeast Asia," the Mayor added.

NYC & Company, the city's official tourism marketing organization, is a private, membership-based non-profit dedicated to building New York City's economy and positive image through tourism and convention development, major events and the marketing of the city on a worldwide basis.


Edward Skyler/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Lisa Mortman/Arleen Kropf   (212) 484-1270

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