NYC & Company increases presence overseas

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NYC & Company, New York's tourism marketing organization, opened several overseas offices in the last year, enough to more than double its international presence, it said at a press conference during the ITB travel fair in Berlin last week.

It now operates 11 international offices covering 19 countries, with the most recent openings in Russia, Scandinavia, Spain and the Netherlands.

Chris Heywood, public relations director for travel and tourism, said NYC & Company is looking to expand further in the next year or so, beginning with a Japan office this spring. It is starting negotiations to open one or two offices in China and is looking at Australia, Brazil, India and South Korea.

Heywood said New York's global reach is now almost certainly unequaled by any other U.S. CVB; it is part of a previously announced effort to attract 50 million visitors to the city annually by 2015.

An estimated 44 million people visited New York in 2006, which puts the city ahead of its schedule for reaching that target.

The organization, strengthened by its mid-2006 merger with NYC Marketing and NYC Big Events, also is working with unprecedented funding.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged an additional $15 million annually for at least five years, earmarked for international expansion (for a total operating budget this year of $45 million).

NYC & Company also has $60 million in media and promotional assets, which it aims to harness to attract more big events as well as to lure tourists from a broader range of overseas sources.

The promotional assets include media space on bus shelters and phone kiosks as well as radio and TV ads, space that will be traded for comparable positions in international markets. In addition, NYC & Company manages a licensing program which, for example, enables it to sell official New York City apparel.

Also, the CVB is considering making its Web site transactional, Heywood said.   

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].

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