NYC & Company has opened its first office openings in Asia, with outposts in Japan, China and South Korea.
The move comes as residents in all three countries have shown increased interest in business and leisure travel abroad.
The new offices will help promote New York and increase tourism from the three countries, which will be critical to achieving New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s goal of welcoming 50 million visitors annually by 2015.
The new offices are in Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Seoul, South Korea, the political, financial, cultural and educational centers-as well as the largest cities-of their respective countries.
“This is an important moment for our travel and tourism industry,” said NYC & Company chief executive officer George Fertitta. “New York City is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth, embracing its history and character even as exciting changes continue to place throughout the five boroughs. Now is unquestionably the time to be on the ground in these countries, personally encouraging new travelers and welcoming those who are ready to come again.”
The new offices mark the first time NYC & Company has established a presence in these markets, and is the next step in the organization’s plan to build a global network and boost international travel to New York City. The organization now has representative offices serving 19 countries.
The office openings are being announced beginning today in a series of press events in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing and Seoul.
A close look at each market shows tremendous potential for tourism growth.
Japanese residents, some of the most active and sophisticated travelers worldwide, are the third-largest overseas market for New York City. Though recent history shows a period of incremental gains and losses in the number of Japanese visitors to the city, forecasts project the number to rise in 2007 to roughly 294,000.
In South Korea, the number of visitors to New York City has risen sharply since 2002, jumping from 81,000 in 2002 to 228,000 in 2005. South Korean growth is expected to continue, with an estimated 251,000 visitors in 2007. New York City is the number one international destination for visitors from South Korea, and the country represents New York’s eighth-largest overseas market.
In China, the main draw for bringing residents to New York City remains business travel. Although the United States still does not have approved destinations status (ADS), travelers from China may come with work visas that include allowances to bring family members. These visits generally last 10 to 15 days and include stays in multiple cities.
Travel from China to New York City in particular has been on the rise in recent years, jumping sharply from 59,000 visitors in 2002 to 133,000 in 2005. Estimates call for the growth to continue, with an estimated 165,000 visitors forecast for 2007.
“There is no better time for travelers from these countries to visit New York City,” said Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman and chief executive officer of Loews Hotels and chairman of the NYC & Company board. “It continues to be a dynamic and multicultural destination that offers visitors exciting things to do, whether their interest is landmark attractions like the Empire State Building or digging deeper to discover another side of the city. We are proud to showcase all we have to offer, from the Bronx and Brooklyn, to Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.”
In addition to the three new offices in Asian markets, NYC & Company this year has added representative offices in Spain, Russia, Amsterdam-serving the Benelux countries of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands-and Stockholm, serving Finland and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Other locations are in Argentina, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom.