Bloomberg announces global tourism initiative

NEW YORK: Mayor Mike Bloomberg, working with New York City's official marketing and tourism organization, NYC & Company, has launched a new campaign to attract visitors to all five city boroughs.

NEW YORK: Mayor Mike Bloomberg, working with New York City's official marketing and tourism organization, NYC & Company, has launched a new campaign to attract visitors to all five city boroughs.

“Just Ask the Locals,” a first-time five-borough marketing and advertising campaign aimed at enhancing visitors’ experiences and highlighting the economic strength and importance of New York City tourism, launched on August 29, at the unveiling of the new American Airlines terminal at JFK international airport. Bloomberg was accompanied by execs from American Airlines and Port Authority.

“The mayor’s vision and charge was that if we couldn’t get customs and the TSA and federal officials to move more quickly and make the experience coming into the US a more pleasant one, we’d do what we could,” said Kimberly Spell, SVP of communications at NYC & Company.

NYC & Company recruited Port Authority employees to provide scripted advice, tip cards, maps, and guides to travelers who have passed through customs. A 50-member street team and major hotel partners will likewise provide those materials.

American Airlines will donate space for advertisements worth an estimated $4.5 million in the airport and outside on taxi cab stands, on an annualized basis. NYC & Company will place an estimated $1.7 million worth of ads on street pole banners, phone kiosks, and bus stop shelters, which the organization controls.

The campaign also features a hotline featuring tips from celebrity city dwellers, such as Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro; a 30-second video played in 400 taxi cabs; and information on its Web site www.nycvisit.com.

Spell emphasized the importance of the celebrity component to drive the message that New Yorkers, contrary to belief, are actually the most helpful people out there; they just have a different way of expressing it.

“[But] it’s more than just the celeb component,” she added. “The mayor called on New Yorkers to do what they do best, to give their advice. If you see a tourist with a map, help them out and tell them where they’re going.” 

NYC & Company conducted pre-campaign interviews with 2,000 respondents in NYC, the UK, France, and Spain to gauge attitudes about destination friendliness.  Mid-September thru mid-December, they will distribute surveys at the American Airlines terminal and conduct qualitative research with the travel and tourism community.

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