REPORT - BERLIN - ITB 2008: The expansion of the global communications campaign 'This is New York City' into Germany, the City’s second largest overseas market was announced by NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. The campaign—which is grounded in the central truth that the five boroughs offer a diversity of experiences unmatched by any other destination—is key to NYC & Company’s strategic plan to promote tourism to New York City. The latest estimates show that a record 46 million people from around the country and world came to New York City in 2007—up 5% from the all-time high of 43.8 million visitors in 2006.
The news comes against the backdrop of ITB, the leading trade fair for the global tourism industry, held each year in Berlin, Germany. It also marks one year since NYC & Company used the same platform to unveil plans for its global expansion and international marketing campaign. The ultimate goal is to achieve Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s vision of attracting 50 million annual visitors by 2015.
“We began 2007 with a strategic plan to grow tourism to New York City—in particular in the key international markets—and it’s clear now that our hard work is taking real effect,” Fertitta said. “In 2007 New York City welcomed an estimated 8.5 million visitors from other countries, an unprecedented increase of nearly 20% over 2006. These visitors are clearly capitalizing on beneficial exchange rates and citywide savings programs, but we also know they wouldn’t come for the value alone: The fact is, the five boroughs continue to offer more energy and excitement than any other destination. There is truly no better time to visit.”
Since January 2007, NYC & Company has opened 10 new offices for a total of 17 locations serving 24 markets worldwide. Among the highlights last year was the company’s first venture into Asia, with new offices in Shanghai, China, Tokyo, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea. Additions in 2008 have included Toronto, Canada, and Sydney, Australia.
The past year also saw the launch of the tourist appreciation campaign, Just Ask The Locals, in addition to the global This Is New York City campaign. The global campaign includes the 60-second television spot scheduled to premiere in Germany in the coming weeks. The spot communicates the joy and excitement of being in the City while illustrating the extraordinary diversity of experiences throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.
To amplify awareness about all that the boroughs have to offer, NYC & Company is also launching a new program, the NYC Online Training Academy. The internet-based program—which is being introduced first in the British and German markets—is designed as an interactive, educational tool for travel professionals. It features sections on hotels, shopping, dining, culture and more, and will enable users to become certified as official NYC Specialists.
The new online program also will be providing critical support to the German market, which has shown strong growth in travel to New York City since 2002. The latest estimates show that 470,000 German travelers visited NYC in 2007—a potential gain of 12% over the 420,000 who came in 2006. The increases are expected to continue in 2008, when growth of 6.5 to 7% could take the number of visitors past the 500,000 mark. New York City also continues to be the top US destination for German travelers, who count shopping, dining and sightseeing among their main interests while visiting.
Among the particular highlights attracting visitors this summer is the monumental scale public art project The New York City Waterfalls, on display from mid-July through mid-October. The exhibit by the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson will consist of four manmade waterfalls installed along the shores of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Governor’s Island. Each will be 90 to 120 feet in height and softly lit at night, adding a striking element to the City skyline. Because of their visibility, visits to other attractions from the Statue of Liberty to Battery Park, South Street Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge will provide ideal opportunities for viewing.