New York: Looking Ahead to Pow Wow '05

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ith scores of new developments and an optimistic outlook on the state of travel, New York City is looking forward to hosting the 37th annual International Pow Wow in 2005, which will be held May 3 to 7.

Preliminary preparations have begun, says Cristyne L. Nicholas, president and CEO of NYC & Co., the city's convention and visitors bureau. "We've set aside funds, put committees together and are holding meetings," she says. "Among the things we're doing now is conducting site visits to identify venues for Pow Wow.

"The timing is ideal for Pow Wow; next year will be perfect for us to work on our outreach to international markets," Nicholas adds.

This year, meanwhile, "has been a terrific year for the city," according to Nicholas. It hosted the American Bus Association this past January while the Republic National Convention will be held in New York this August.

Domestic travel to New York City, in fact, increased 2.2% in 2002, setting a new record of 30.2 million visitors. Overall leisure travel grew by 3.2% -- an increase of more than one million visitors -- to a record 25.9 million based on the strength of the domestic market, Nicholas says.

The international picture has been less heartening with a drop of 25% in visitors from abroad since 2000. In 2002 New York hosted nearly 5.1 million international visitors, a 10% decline from 2001.

Still, there are bright spots. International travel picked up significantly in the last four months of 2002. The 2003 forecast predicts international visitors at 5.4 million, a 5% hike over 2002. Actual figures for 2003 are not yet available.

Representing only 14% of the total market, international travelers contribute about 40% of total spending.

And New York City continues to be the number one U.S. destination for overseas visitors, with a 22% overall market share for the third year in 2002, even as total international travel to the U.S. declined by 12%.

The city's main international markets remain the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany and France -- which combined, account for nearly half of all international visitors.

One of those major markets -Japan -- is the focus of a new campaign to bolster international tourism. The campaign will feature Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui in radio spots, a Yankee sweepstakes in print and on-line, and a New York promotional video that will be broadcast in more than 300 travel retail outlets and multiple public outdoor screens throughout Tokyo.

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