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The Sister City Program Summit on “Rebuilding International Tourism”, February 6-7 2003

From Left to Right: SCP President, the Honorable Nancy E. Soderberg, the Honorable Gabor Demszky of Budapest, the Honorable Alvarez del Manzano of Madrid, the Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, the Honorable Esmerito A. Salcedo of Santo Domingo, the Honorable Amos Masondo of Johannesburg, and Commissioner Marjorie B. Tiven of NYC Commission for the United Nations Consular Corps and Protocol meet at New York’s City Hall.

On February 6-7 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, together with the Sister City Program of the City of New York, Inc. and NYC & Company, hosted an international Tourism Summit, titled "Rebuilding International Tourism". Our nine sister cities: Budapest, Cairo, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Rome, Santo Domingo, and Tokyo, sent either their Mayors or top tourism officials to participate in this Summit. Four Mayors attended this year’s summit: the Honorable Gabor Demszky of Budapest, the Honorable Amos Masondo of Johannesburg; the Honorable Alvarez del Manzano of Madrid, and the Honorable Esmerito A. Salcedo of Santo Domingo.

The Tourism Summit furthered the Sister City Program’s goal of fostering partnerships among our sister cities in business, security and culture. The specific focus of this two-day summit was on rebuilding the travel and tourism industries in these cities.

Rebuilding International Tourism
Not only is tourism the cornerstone of economy for many of the Sister Cities, but tourism is also a crucial element of economic development. Prior to September 11, 2001, New York City tourism supported 285,000 jobs and brought over 37 million visitors to New York. Participants discussed a plan of action to restore confidence in the travel and tourism industry and encourage citizens to embrace their right to travel. Summit participants pressed the need for:
  1. Local, State, and Federal support for tourism: Government at all levels should support international travel and travel promotion should be included in all budgets. Investment of a portion of tourism taxes for promotional activities and tourism infrastructure improvements should be considered.
  2. Uniform Security checks: Press for state and national consistency of security checks at airports. Ensure new or modified security systems are properly tested.
  3. Marketing partnerships: Government and the tourism industry should partner in developing a sustained international marketing plan. Visits by government officials to the U.S. and abroad should be highlighted.

See “Rebuilding Tourism in an Uncertain Environment”, by Dr. Lalia Rach, Associate Dean, New York University

Moreover, the Summit promoted New York City in several ways:
  • Revitalizing New York's Tourism Industry: key tour operators, journalists, and professionals in the travel and tourism field from the nine Sister Cities joined the Mayors. The summit established contacts for follow-up on a continuing basis with the tour promoters when they returned home.
  • Economic redevelopment of lower Manhattan: The delegations met with John Whitehead, Chairman, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and toured Ground Zero.
  • International New York: By visiting the United Nations and highlighting the nine Sister City relationships, the Summit underscored that New York is the most international city in the world - a key point in the city's 2012 Olympic Bid.

 Office of the Mayor Press Release
 SCI Press
 Rebuilding Tourism in an Uncertain Environment

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