NYC & Company laying groundwork for Year of Pride

Christopher Street Park is part of the Stonewall National Monument in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Christopher Street Park is part of the Stonewall National Monument in New York’s Greenwich Village. Photo Credit: NYC & Company

June is usually synonymous with LGBTQ pride in New York, but with so many milestones and events, most notably the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and World Pride's first U.S.-based celebration, NYC & Company has dubbed 2019 the "Year of Pride."

"There are literally going to be hundreds of exhibitions, programs, speaker series throughout the year that are really going to give people the opportunity to come and engage in that history, and enjoy this theme not just in the month of June, in the [traditional] pride month, but in fact throughout the year," said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company's president and CEO.

The cornerstones of the Year of Pride celebrations are the 50th anniversary of the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that sparked the gay rights movement and World Pride for the first time taking place in the U.S. World Pride will magnify the commemorations that usually take place on the Stonewall anniversary.

According to Dixon, New York City Pride usually draws around 2 million people. That is expected to increase by 50% next year with 3 million World Pride attendees. 

Using that event as a basis, he said, the tourism marketing company wanted to amplify the message for the entire year.

Some components of the Year of Pride began as early as this month, like the Whitney Museum of American Art's exhibit "Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again," which opened Nov. 12. 

The retrospective "focuses a lot on his personal life and his influence on other LGBT artists," Dixon said. "And, of course, in the early years in the fight for equality, Warhol and his contemporaries were in many ways right at the forefront of that."

Dixon also pointed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute's 2019 exhibition, "Camp: Notes on Fashion" as celebrating "gender-bending" fashion trends.

Marketing materials from NYC & Company using the phrase “Pride. Uncontained.”
Marketing materials from NYC & Company using the phrase “Pride. Uncontained.” Photo Credit: NYC & Company

NYC & Company also launched an GBTQ campaign this year, "Pride. Uncontained." It includes print and digital marketing materials.

"It really speaks to that event in 1969 at Stonewall and what it has meant for the movement, what it has meant for New York and how, in many ways, that event could have only happened in New York," Dixon said. 

One print ad destined for a gay magazine describes what happened at Stonewall. In 1969, gay clubs around the country were frequently raided by police, but the Stonewall raid was the "breaking point" for the gay rights movement.

"Something shattered that night in 1969," the ad reads. "And out of the pieces came something infinitely more beautiful. Its impact, irreversible. The truth, undeniable. Our pride, uncontainable."

The campaign is designed to share New York's pride with the world, Dixon said, and make it clear that the destination is welcoming and diverse.

Proud Experiences, a three-day conference that will connect travel advisers and suppliers through networking and educational sessions, will take place in New York in 2019. Reed Travel Exhibitions, the company behind the International Luxury Travel Market and World Travel Market, is producing the event, and Travel Weekly is a media partner. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association's annual conference will also be held in the city in 2019.

Dixon said NYC & Company's convention team worked behind the scenes to court LGBTQ shows for the Year of Pride.

NYC & Company estimates that one out of every 10 New York visitors falls into the LGBTQ category. With 65 million visitors expected next year, that would mean 6.5 million LGBTQ visitors, Dixon said. 

He expects a bump in travelers in 2019. In addition to the Year of Pride, New York is also promoting its marketing campaign, "2019: A Monumental Year," highlighting the new things coming to the city, including the Statue of Liberty Museum and the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art. 

Dixon encouraged agents to visit to learn about everything via a new webinar series.


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