TORONTO — NYC & Company, New York City’s official tourism and marketing organization, met with members of the travel trade in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City last week to highlight the ‘new’ New York.
Canada is one of the two leading international tourism markets for New York City, tied with the UK. In 2014, NYC welcomed 1,139,000 visitors from Canada; for 2015, NYC & Company is forecasting a 2.8% increase to approximately 1,171,000.
“Particularly with the Canadian market, a lot of it is repeat customers, a lot of them are coming again and again,” said Reagan Stulbaum, vice-president of tourism development for USA and Canada.
They’ve seen Times Square and the Empire State Building, so they’re looking for something different. “It becomes more about the authentic New York and getting out into the neighbourhoods,” said Stulbaum.
NYC & Company just launched the next iteration of its NYCGO Insider Guides, highlighting the city’s five boroughs as premier travel destinations. And it’s promoting its offerings with the launch of a new ‘Hello Summer’ promotional campaign, as well as a new ‘Free in NYC’ guide, which highlights the best free activities the city has to offer from TV tapings to activities for kids.
There’s also a lot of ‘new’ in New York City. The Whitney Museum of American Art opened May 1; the One World Observatory is opening atop the new One World Trade Center on May 29; and the St. George development in Staten Island will debut in late 2016. This will include one of the world’s largest observation wheels, at 625 feet, with views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and Manhattan skyline.
“New York City has the most active pipeline in the U.S. for hotel development,” said Stulbaum. “We currently have 102,000 rooms; by the end of year we’ll have 110,000 rooms.”
NYC & Company has also revamped its website, nycgo.com/traveltrade, which includes a travel agent training academy, image library and newsletter. New to the site is a listing of educational programs for designing student trips, as well as group-friendly dining venues agents can sort by location and capacity.
The travel agent training academy is now organized by program. “You’re going to get some additional benefits by being a New York City specialist,” said Stulbaum. “You get credentials, you get a trade pass – that’s available to all travel professionals visiting New York – but if you are a specialist and have done the program, there are additional discounts.”