FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 27, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND NYC & COMPANY ANNOUNCE 44 MILLION TOURISTS VISITED NEW YORK CITY IN 2006, PUMPING $24 BILLION INTO ECONOMY
Year-End Tourism Estimates Surpass Original Projections and Shatter Previous Visitor Record; City is Ahead of Schedule in Plan to Attract 50 Million Tourists to New York by 2015
Mayor Announces Expansion of City’s First International Tourism Marketing Campaign – NYC OPEN/BOOK – Into Ireland, Italy and Spain; New Program Offers Hotel and Airline Discounts During Traditionally Slower Tourism Periods
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that an estimated 44 million people from around the country and the world visited New York City in 2006. This total surpasses the 41 million tourists that were estimated to have visited the City in 2005 at this time last year. It also tops the 43 million tourists projected to visit in 2006 at the beginning of the year, and represents a major step towards the City’s goal of attracting 50 million tourists by 2015. NYC & Company projects that tourists spent $24 billion in the City in 2006, supporting nearly 350,000 jobs. This announcement comes just days after NYC & Company completed phase one of the City’s first international tourism campaign, NYC OPEN/BOOK. The second phase, starting January 2, will expand the marketing campaign to Italy, Ireland, and Spain. NYC & Company Executive Director of Tourism Tim McGuinness, Radisson Lexington Hotel bell captain Willie Lopez, Radisson Lexington Hotel front office employee Edna Thomas, and New York Botanical Garden President Gregory Long also attended the announcement at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, a New York City cultural destination promoted and marketed to tourists by NYC & Company.
“The 44 million people who came to New York City in 2006 are an invaluable engine helping drive the City’s economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New Yorkers from waiters and waitresses to hotel workers, like Willie Lopez and Edna Thomas, are supported by the millions of people that come here from around the world to experience the Big Apple. We set an ambitious target of attracting 50 million tourists by 2015, and judging by NYC & Company’s success with innovative marketing campaigns like NYC OPEN/BOOK, we are well on our way to achieving our goal.”
The 2006 estimates include 37 million domestic visitors and 7 million visitors from other countries, including 1.2 million visitors from the United Kingdom, the City’s number one international market. Tourism from Ireland has more than doubled since 2000, and travel from Spain, Holland, Australia and South America is rising steadily and expected to continue to grow. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, an estimated 1.25 million international visitors came to the City. With the focus on new opportunities and emerging markets, NYC & Company projects a total of 45.5 million tourists for 2007, a gain of 3.2% over this year. NYC & Company revises its estimates as more information becomes available; the estimate for 2005 of 41 million tourists was revised upwards to 42.6 million tourists.
In November, NYC & Company, under the new leadership of CEO George Fertitta, launched the first phase of its first major international tourism marketing campaign, NYC OPEN/BOOK. The campaign offers potential visitors hotel and airline discounts during days of the year that are traditionally slower for the City’s tourism industry. The discounts are offered around major U.S. holidays and are aimed primarily at international travelers who spend more money than domestic tourists. International visitors stay longer and are 2.5 times more likely to visit a cultural organization, frequently those located in boroughs beyond Manhattan. NYC & Company has already received positive feedback from travel agents about the first phase, which ran from December 18 to December 25 and centered on advertising in London’s underground rail system.
From January 2 to January 15, the second phase of the NYC OPEN/BOOK campaign will offer hotel and airline discounts for the post-holiday shopping period and Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend. Because of the excitement generated by the first phase in the United Kingdom, the City is expanding its tourism campaign to include upcoming promotional and advertising outreach in Ireland, Italy and Spain in the coming months.
“The destination marketing and tourism industries have become increasing crowded and competitive,” said NYC & Company Chairman Jonathan Tisch. “The marketplace demands that cities – even New York City – keep up with those changes. We must be smart, nimble and strategic to succeed. NYC OPEN/BOOK is an innovative effort to bring more visitors to NYC during identified need periods.”
“There are 70 key OPEN/BOOK dates every year when domestic visitors tend to stay close to home with their families. These are the perfect dates for visitors from outside the United States to come to New York,” said NYC & Company CEO Fertitta. “Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to promoting New York City as a destination and through the reorganization of our marketing and promotional efforts, we are able to reach out to the United Kingdom and other countries and attract more visitors.”
“Our marketing and promotional efforts are important to the 350,000 women and men who work in the travel and tourism industry in New York – the hotel staff, doormen, waiters, cab drivers, tour guides and more – who depend upon a robust tourism industry to put food on their family’s table,” said Executive Director of Tourism McGuinness. “Seen through that lens, this effort has an amazing impact on our City’s economic health.”
Mayor Bloomberg appointed Fertitta in June to combine the formerly separate entities of NYC Marketing, NYC Big Events and NYC & Company under one banner – while keeping the NYC & Company name – creating the world’s leading municipal tourism, marketing and events organization.
An integral part of NYC & Company’s marketing strategy is a concerted effort to market New York’s five boroughs as a whole. Most recently, NYC & Company aggressively promoted the colorful glass creations by artist Dale Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden. The exhibit was featured in a multitude of NYC & Company publications, including official visitors guides, print and online newsletters, and press releases reaching more than 100,000 City residents, visitors, journalists, travel agents, meeting planners and tour guides.
Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958
Kimberly Spell (NYC & Company)
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