—MasterCard Partners with the City’s Tourism and Marketing Office to Support New Effort Targeting 18- to 29-Year-Olds—

—New York City Sets New Tourism Goal of 55 Million Visitors to NYC Annually by 2015—

Berlin (March 7, 2012) — Today at ITB Berlin, one of the world’s largest travel trade conventions, NYC & Company, New York City’s tourism and marketing organization, announced a new annual visitation goal of 55 million visitors by 2015 and will focus on attracting the youth market (ages 18–29) with plans to draw an additional 1 million youth visitors from around the world in the next five years. New York City’s youth travel market continues to grow, with 15.1 million visitors estimated in 2011—almost 30 percent of the City’s total visitor volume.

To reach this new target, NYC & Company announced plans to launch NYC<30, along with an upcoming partnership with MasterCard to create “priceless” NYC experiences exclusive to MasterCard cardholders. At the announcement, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta was joined by MasterCard Vice President of Marketing for Germany Dagmar Nedbal; a delegation of youth travelers; and Espen Falkenhaug, World Youth Student Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation Director General.

“We believe that the continued success and momentum of global visitation to New York City will be enhanced by opening our arms and welcoming the world’s youth to experience all of what our City has to offer,” said CEO George Fertitta. “With the City’s commitment to the youth visitor experience and MasterCard’s access and global programming, we are confident that together we can achieve great success.”

“Over the past year, our cardholders have enthusiastically embraced the access and offers delivered through the Priceless New York program,” said MasterCard SVP/Group Head of U.S. Marketing Cheryl Guerin. “New York is a city loved and visited by millions each year. We look forward to working with NYC<30 to help create new priceless experiences, offers and memories for these younger international travelers.”

“WYSE Travel Confederation supports this great initiative from NYC & Company because our organization believes firmly in the importance of youth travel and the socioeconomic impact it brings to cities like New York,” said Espen Falkenhaug, World Youth Student Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation Director General.

“As a young artist who has spent time in NYC and plans to visit again, it is exciting news for all of us that NYC plans to make the city even more accessible for students and young professionals,” said Andreas Fisher. “New York City has inspired me during my visits and I very much look forward to spending more time there soon.”

NYC<30 encourages youth to travel to New York City with special value offers and by highlighting what makes the five boroughs a hub for young travelers. NYC<30 will be promoted through a micro-site on, social media and a commitment to working with the WYSE Travel Confederation, the world’s largest network of youth and student travel operators. Details regarding NYC<30 will be revealed at International Pow Wow in Los Angeles, April 21–25, and World Travel Market in London, November 7–10. For more information in the meantime, visit

A visitor can travel easily and affordably to all five boroughs by the City’s 24/7 subway and bus system. Granting access to every zone of the transit system, the fare for a subway or local bus ride is only $2.25, while a seven-day unlimited pass costs $29. The City also committed to launching a bike-share program this summer, making it easier for visitors and New Yorkers to take advantage of the more than 1,100 kilometers of bike lanes across the five boroughs.

Many of the City’s most popular cultural attractions—including the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, the New York Aquarium and the Staten Island Museum—offer discounts for students, “pay what you wish” days and even free admission on specific days.

While New York City is renowned for its Michelin-star restaurants and chefs, the five boroughs are also home to thousands of affordable eateries, food carts and other dining establishments such as Joe’s Pizza in the West Village, The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria, and Shake Shack, which has locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Last year, New York City and AT&T announced a five-year initiative to provide free WiFi in 20 parks across the five boroughs. Fourteen parks offer the free service, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, Battery Park, Central Park, Astoria Park and Clove Lakes Park.

In an effort to encourage the development of safe, affordable youth accommodations, New York City is committed to legalizing hostels. A regulated hostel industry will provide affordable accommodations for budget-conscious travelers, in particular the youth market.

Priceless New York is part of a global program that provides MasterCard cardholders extraordinary experiences, exclusive offers and privileged access to the things they are most passionate about, including travel, sports, shopping, culinary experiences, and arts and entertainment.

New York City welcomed nearly 14.5 million young visitors (11.9 million domestic and 2.6 million international) ages 18–29 in 2010. These numbers are forecast to have grown to 15.1 million visitors (12.4 national and 2.7 international) in 2011. In addition, more than 50 percent of international travelers who visit the United States also visit New York City during their trip. An estimated one out of every three visitors to New York City is under the age of 30 and is expected to make up a large percentage of New York City’s repeat visitors in the years to come, as more than 25 percent of youth and students are forecasted to return.

ITB Berlin is one of the largest combined travel trade and consumer conventions in the world, attracting 170,000 visitors and 11,000 exhibitors every year. NYC & Company and 20 of its members will represent New York City at ITB Berlin, including:

  • Academy Bus   
  • The Broadway Collection   
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises   
  • Cirque du Soleil   
  • Empire State Building Observatory   
  • Entertainment Cruises   
  • Heartland Brewery   
  • Hilton New York   
  • Hotel Metro   
  • Liberty Helicopters   
  • Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau   
  • Macy’s   
  • The Museum of Modern Art   
  • The New York Pass
  • New York YMCA Guest Rooms   
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square   
  • The Roosevelt Hotel   
  • Teamamerica Receptive Tour Operator   
  • Top of the Rock  

In 2011, New York City attracted 50.5 million visitors, who contributed more than $48 billion in economic impact for the City. Germany, the third largest European market for NYC, outperformed the rest of Europe with a 14 percent increase in 2011, and is the only Euro-zone country expected to grow in 2012. Of the forecasted 604,000 Germans who visited NYC in 2011, about 193,000 of them were under the age of 30.

NYC & Company also announced today the launch of a German language geotargeted website to better serve German visitors as they plan their trip to New York City. Follow New York City online on our Germany Facebook page,, and on Twitter at twitter@nycgo_de.

Pictures and video of today’s press conference will be available at under Today’s News.

To plan your trip, visit When in New York City, stop by the Official NYC Information Center at 810 Seventh Avenue, between West 52nd and West 53rd Streets, in Midtown Manhattan.

About NYC & Company:
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, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For more information on visiting NYC, visit

About MasterCard:
(NYSE: MA),, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities—such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances—easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog and subscribe for the latest news.



Contact:  Tiffany Townsend/Marjan Inbar    NYC & Company    212-484-1270