NYC

NYC & Company’s 5-borough initiative is bearing fruit in the Big Apple

TORONTO — Visitors to New York City are not only making the trek beyond Manhattan on getaways to the Big Apple, they’re staying overnight, opening up a world of opportunities for agents looking to sell into the ‘other’ boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.

Some 35% of all hotels built across New York City since 2006 have opened in the four other boroughs, said Christopher C. Heywood, Senior Vice-President, Communications for NYC & Company. NYC & Company and a dozen of its tourism industry partners recently wrapped up a three-city Canadian sales mission with stops in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

“People want to live like locals” when they travel to New York, said Heywood. “They want to experience the authentic New York City.” Part of that means going beyond the typical tourist attractions in Manhattan, he added.

NYC & Company’s Neighborhood x Neighborhood initiative, showcasing the highlights of all five boroughs, has lots of appeal especially for mature international markets like Canada – currently the city’s number one international market – where plenty of repeat visitors are looking for a new angle on the city, he said.

New York City welcomed than 1.1 million Canadian visitors in 2013, a 31% increase since 2006. NYC & Company opened its tourism marketing office in Toronto in 2007. New York City is also on track to bring in 55 million visitors worldwide for 2014, one year ahead of its 2015 goal.

What can visitors to the other boroughs expect? Brooklyn is the cool, hipster destination where the streets of Williamsburg and Park Slope are lined with shops, restaurants and hotels too, says Heywood. At Coney Island, the new Thunderbolt rollercoaster recently joined the vintage Cyclone.

In Queens, visitors “can go around the world” with Greek, Korean, Indian, Chinese and other populations giving rise to a thriving food and culture scene, said Heywood.

The Bronx is the greenest borough and home to the Bronx Zoo, the Bronx Botanical Garden and the new Wave Hill, not to mention Yankee Stadium.

Staten Island is the “bucolic” borough, peaceful and quiet with Snug Harbor and the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Staten Island is also the borough most in need of more product to make it visitor-accessible, including hotels (a new 200-room property is coming in the next couple of years). Staten Island will also welcome the New York Wheel in late 2016, billed as the tallest observation wheel in the world with an expected four million visitors annually.

Of course, there’s lots going on in Manhattan too. The 9/11 Memorial Museum just opened, with a US$24 admission rate and free Tuesday nights. All of Lower Manhattan is seeing a revitalization, with new hotels and restaurants. “Lower Manhattan is another option to Midtown for hotel stays,” said Heywood.

It’s easy for visitors to feel overwhelmed in a sprawling, bustling city like New York. The best strategy for clients is to choose a neighbourhood or two “and don’t bite off more than you can chew” when it comes to sightseeing, he said. “Go beyond your comfort zone and explore the five boroughs. There’s so much more to New York City than Manhattan.”

Sample itineraries are available at the nycgo.com website, he added. Agents can find an NYC & Company training academy and other sales tools at nycgo.com/traveltrade.