Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta has announced the opening of a new tourism and marketing office in India, the culmination of a two-year plan to strengthen the impact of the City’s $30 billion travel and tourism industry. Travel to New York City from India grew by 47 percent last year to 157,000 visitors and generated an economic impact of $266 million. The opening of the office in Mumbai brings the City’s international presence to 18 offices serving 25 countries. Fertitta opened the office from Mumbai, where he unveiled new media targeted to the Indian market and invited Indians to visit and experience New York City. NYC & Company is the City’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization.
“Tourism is a cornerstone of New York City’s economy, and by expanding our presence to India, we can grow our share of international travel and bolster its impact on the City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Two years ago we launched a campaign to expand the City’s overseas presence to promote travel and tourism and help diversify our economy, and that initiative is vital now more than ever. International travelers represent 19 percent of the total visitors to New York City but they account for more than 50 percent of total visitor spending. India is already home to one of the fastest growing groups of visitors with inbound travel to New York City having more than doubled in the past five years.”
“There has long been a commercial and cultural connection between India and New York City,” said Fertitta of NYC & Company. “Today, we are extending that bond further by personally inviting all Indian leisure and business travelers to visit New York City in 2009 and beyond.”
NYC & Company today unveiled welcome videos by television show host and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi, hotelier Sant Chatwal, and film director, Mira Nair that invite Indian residents to visit New York City. NYC & Company also announced that the City’s television commercial, “This is New York City,” would expand into the Indian market, and previewed the third phase of the City’s “Just Ask the Locals” tourist appreciation campaign, which features Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the first Indian-American to participate in the “Just Ask the Locals” initiative.
NYC & Company today also launched the New York City Online Training Academy for the India travel trade market. The online tool will train travel agents and tour operators on best practices for packaging and selling New York City’s five boroughs, as well as educate participants on important facts, figures and information relevant to a visit to the United States’ largest City.
“With the launch of our new office, we’re giving India’s travel industry the tools it needs to sell the New York City experience to future visitors,” said Fertitta. “It is important now more than ever for NYC & Company to have a presence in India as we capitalize on this important and growing market.”
New York City is the most frequently visited destination in the U.S. for Indian travelers, capturing a 28 percent market share. India maintains a strong Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market, as well as strong business relations between the two countries. In 2008, New York City is expected to welcome an estimated 175,000 Indian visitors.
New York City’s travel and tourism industry continues to grow. In June, Mayor Bloomberg announced the acceleration of the goal to attract 50 million visitors to New York City annually to 2012 from 2015. Since Mayor Bloomberg set the goal of ’50 by 15′ in 2006, New York City has welcomed more visitors than anticipated, including a record 46 million in 2007. International visitor arrivals to New York City through the first half of 2008 grew 10 percent over the same period last year. New York City also remains the top tourist spending destination in the U.S., recently beating out Las Vegas and Orlando for this top spot. The City’s tourism industry generated $28 billion in economic impact last year and generated more than 370,000 jobs.
Mayor Bloomberg initiated an expansion of NYC & Company in 2006 with additional creative and financial resources, creating the world’s leading municipal tourism, marketing and partnership organization. NYC & Company has increased awareness of New York City through its global expansion plan and strategic marketing campaigns. These include the City’s first-ever global communications campaign, “This is New York City,” and the tourist appreciation campaign, “Just Ask the Locals.”
The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) is also actively recruiting the production of Indian films to New York City. Film Commissioner Katherine Oliver is meeting with leaders of India’s film industry to highlight the benefits of filming in New York after recent theatrical successes of Indian films shot in the City.
“The success of films like Kal Ho Naa Ho and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which are among the twenty-five highest grossing films in India from the last decade, shows that Indian audiences are eager to see the real New York City onscreen,” said Commissioner Oliver. “Every corner of our diverse City is a cinematic moment waiting to be filmed, and we welcome producers and filmmakers to find out just how easy it is to film in New York City.”
The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting offers numerous free services for productions, including free permits, free locations, and free police assistance, as well as tax and marketing credits, making it cost effective to film in the City. Entertainment production generates $5 billion in economic activity in New York City every year. In 2007, 245 films shot on the streets of New York City.