New York City is launching a $30 million tourism advertising campaign — the largest in Big Apple history — to revive an industry that’s been gutted by the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
“We need to let people know we’re open for business. It’s safe to come here. Join this amazing moment. Come to this city that’s been so heroic during this crisis,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing.
The campaign aims to boost Gotham’s hotel, restaurant, arts, entertainment and taxi industries and bring back the 400,000 jobs that were connected to tourism pre-pandemic.
It’s the “largest campaign ever to promote tourism in New York City and it will remind people this is the place to be,” de Blasio said. “There is no place like it in the world.”
The campaign is being funded through federal stimulus money, according to City Hall. Typically, the city spends around $3 million annually in tourism advertising.
“Tourism has been an important part of life for this city, an important part of our economy — hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on tourism,” said Hizzoner, who insisted the 400,000 jobs in the city supported by the tourism industry “will come back.”
“We are absolutely certain,” the mayor said.
Fred Dixon, president and CEO of the city’s tourism bureau NYC & Company, explained during the briefing that the “major comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign” will kick off in June with the message that “all five boroughs are open, vibrant and ready to safely welcome back visitors and business events.”
“We’re going to do all we can to accelerate tourism’s recovery,” said Dixon, who noted that the campaign will also “target international travel markets as those begin to open back up.”
In the run-up to the campaign, Dixon said, the city is encouraging New Yorkers to take “an active role in the recovery by inviting friends and family to plan a visit.”
Renowned French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud, who owns seven restaurants in the city, appeared virtually during the briefing to tout the campaign.
“I can’t say how much I am excited by this initiative,” Boulud said. “I can imagine already many of my colleagues being so excited by the rebirth of New York City.”
The tourism campaign announcement comes more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic struck and decimated the city’s hospitality industry.
Last month, city hotel occupancy data and a reported uptick in foot traffic in Times Square showed that tourists were starting to filter back into the Big Apple, but the stats were a far cry from where those figures were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
NYC & Company projects that 36.4 million people will visit the Big Apple in 2021, recovering more than 50 percent of the record 66.6 million tourists that came in 2019.
By 2024, officials expect the city to exceed its 2019 visitor record with an anticipated 69.3 million visitors.
“It’s 2024 that we anticipate getting back to where we were” when it comes to tourism, Dixon said Wednesday at a separate briefing.
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