NEW YORK CITY VALUES CARIBBEAN VISITORS, SAYS DEPUTY MAYOR
NEW YORK (January 5, 2011) – Deputy New York City Mayor Dennis Walcott believes Caribbean-related visitor arrivals to the United States remain an important market which can positively impact the coffers of New York City.
Walcott, who serves as the Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development in the Bloomberg administration, told AmNews that while the City hopes to attract 50 million visitors by 2012, tourism stakeholders should aggressively tap Caribbean nationals who travel to the New York from the Caribbean, Canada as well as from across the United States.
“For decades, Caribbean nationals have made a positive impact on the world stage, they are upwardly mobile people, and they bring significant economic value to New York City when they travel here,” said Walcott, who traces his roots to Barbados and St. Croix.
“There is phenomenally strong airlift from all corners of the Caribbean to New York, and nationals continue to be attracted to our efficient business culture, diverse shopping, culinary and cultural experiences, and of course to visit loved ones. In so doing, they inject millions of dollars into the local economy,” Walcott declared.
As examples of the region’s direct effect, the deputy mayor pointed to the Caribbean American Heritage Month celebrations, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the massive West Indian American Day Labor Day Parade as a few of the events which boost city revenues.
This week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg got a break from the “blizzard bashing” to announce that New York City drew a record-breaking 48.7 million visitors in 2010, a higher-than-projected 6.8 percent increase over 2009.
In addition, the hospitality industry added 6,600 jobs over the past year, employing more New Yorkers in 2010 than ever before. In 2010, New York City also set a record for hotel rooms added and hotel rooms sold, while attendance at cultural institutions rose.
“This past year was New York City’s most successful year for tourism ever … the strength of our tourism industry is one of the reasons New York City was less impacted by the national recession than other cities, and it continues to be one of the reasons we’re growing faster than other cities today. The industry employed more New Yorkers in 2010 than ever before, and the US $31 billion visitors spent this year supported our restaurants, shops, hotels and cultural institutions,” Bloomberg said.
New York City registered 39 million visitors from the U.S. and 9.7 million from abroad – both records.
“New York City’s banner year for tourism is due in no small part to Brooklyn’s own success as the destination of choice for millions of visitors from across the globe,” quipped Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“Brooklyn is proud (to) host everyone from everywhere, with our unique cultural attractions, hot music scene, historic, hip and diverse neighborhoods, boutique and budget-minded hotels, amazing restaurants, great shopping and, of course, world-class wonders like Prospect Park, Coney Island and the spectacular new Brooklyn Bridge Park. I like to say that Brooklyn has it all, but if visitors want to take a day trip to Manhattan, that’s ok, too – and judging by these record numbers, a lot of them do!”
“Many people do not realize how important tourism is to New York City,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “Every visitor to our city helps support our hotels, restaurants, stores and attractions and, most importantly, they help stabilize and grow our workforce. NYC & Company is very proud of our contributions to the tourism effort of the past year and we are dedicated to maintaining this momentum and reach our 2012 goal.”
NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs. Under the Bloomberg Administration, NYC & Company has been transformed into a high-performing marketing group with global reach. The organization now has 18 offices serving 25 markets in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Bevan Springer, a New York Amsterdam News columnist who writes frequently on travel and tourism issues as well as the Caribbean Diaspora, is the President of the New Jersey-headquartered Marketplace Excellence, Inc. – a full service, integrated marketing agency committed to excellence in the fields of public relations, marketing and media coaching. He also produces the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism – CMEx.