Summer in New York: Q & A with Fran Reiter, President of NY&Company

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Fran Reiter discusses new developments with Travel Weekly contributing editor Helen Brower.

TW: Can you explain in brief the significance of the bureau's recent name change to NY&Company and its expanded focus?

Reiter: The NYCVB has been the official tourism marketing organization of New York City since 1935. We remain committed to this core mission and always will be, but now we have the opportunity to do more for the city. New York City is riding the crest of good times -- culturally, economically and socially. Worldwide, the city's image is at an all-time high. We view this time as a window of opportunity, allowing us to make the logical jump to marketing the city as a whole.

Now the organization will not only sell New York City for tourism and convention business, but will also sell the city for international business development, marketing the city in its entirety as an ideal location in which to live, work, hold a convention, vacation and locate a business. These efforts will fall under the banner of our new name, NY&Company. However, the NYCVB label will remain firmly in place for our core tourism marketing efforts. Early plans call for NY&Company to both host and visit potential investors from target international markets, serve as liaison between investors and city agencies, and attract "mediagenic" events that polish the city's image, but we can't succeed unless we are successful in our core mission of selling tourism.

TW: What major upcoming events should agents be sure to tell their New York-bound clients about?

Reiter: New York City bursts with spectacular events every day. Some upcoming highlights include millennium events such as Times Square 2000 and Celebration 2000 at the Javits Center on New Year's Eve, and OpSail 2000, which will be held July 3 to 9, 2000. Our annual festivals and parades that celebrate ethnic communities are great fun as well as living examples of what makes New York City such a vibrant and diverse destination. Examples include the West Indian-American Day Carnival held in Brooklyn on Labor Day [Sept. 6]; the annual Harlem Festival, held this year from Aug. 2 to 22, and the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, set for Sept. 9 to 19 this year. Our Web site, www.nycvisit.com, lists events throughout the year, as does our new partner Web site, www.newyork.citysearch.com.

TW: What tips do you have for agents with midprice and budget clients coming to the Big Apple?

Reiter: We advise travelers and travel agents to be flexible with dates -- a few days on either side can mean reduced room rates. We also recommend taking advantage of New York City's crop of new boutique hotels and independent properties. It's a good idea to access our hotline at (800) 846-ROOM in peak periods for a complete list of hotel rooms in across-the-board accommodations and prices.

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