New York Fall: Q&A With NYCVB chief

Fran Reiter, president and CEO of the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau gives Travel Weekly contributing editor Helen Brower an update on new tourism developments in the Big Apple.

TW: What do you see as the major issues to be addressed if New York City is to continue to be a top-selling travel destination?

Reiter: New York City is enjoying peak interest from potential travelers around the world as the news spreads of our cultural and economic renaissance and our cleaner, safer and brighter appearance. We need to be able to accommodate this high level of demand with more hotel rooms and more meeting and convention space. By the year 2000, we anticipate more than 5,000 new hotel rooms will be added, bringing the city's total room count to 65,000. Many of these new hotels will be located in new areas [for tourism] around the city, including the Brooklyn Marriott, which this summer became the first hotel to open in Brooklyn in more than 60 years. Many of the new hotel rooms will be mid-priced, which will help alleviate concerns about the cost of visiting New York City. Our goal is to provide increased value to visitors through other vehicles, such as culture and transportation passes.

TW: What are some of the events on the agenda for New Year's Eve Millennium celebrations?

Reiter: New York City will offer several large-scale events including Celebration 2000 at the Javits Center, which will be a grand-scale cocktail reception and gourmet four-course meal, followed by an evening of music and a spectacular fireworks display over the Hudson River.

TW: How do you plan to boost New York's visibility to overseas travelers?

Reiter: The overseas visitor is extremely important to New York City, with 5.9 million international visitors anticipated for 1998. As a result, the NYCVB has opened a sales and marketing office in Germany [Munich] to cover central Europe and is planning to open a sales and tourist information office in London. The U.K. and Germany are New York City's largest source of European visitors. It is our goal to provide better travel planning information before visitors come to New York and to make it easy to choose New York as a travel destination. In addition, the NYCVB is planning a large-scale international advertising and direct mail campaign in 1999 to promote New York City.

New York Convention & Visitors Bureau, 810 Seventh Ave., 3rd floor, New York 10019. Brochure requests: (800) 693-7290. For information: (212) 484-1237. Meetings and conventions information: (212) 484-1207. Fax: (212) 246-6310. Web site: www.nycvisit.com

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