PR: Leadership in Tourism 2006

Kimberly Spell, 212-484-1270
NYC & Company
Kim Esp/Jaime Strohmenger
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan Public Relations, Inc.




Tiki Barber, New York Giant All-Time Leading Rusher, Emcees Gala New York, NY (December 12, 2006) – Nearly 600 of New York’s top professionals in travel and tourism, business, sports, and government gathered this evening in midtown Manhattan’s Gotham Hall to honor five dynamic, New York City icons at the NYC & Company Foundation’s annual Leadership in Tourism Award Dinner. Fern Mallis, Danny Meyer, Bank of America, the EmpireStateBuilding, which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary, and Cristyne L. Nicholas, outgoing President of NYC & Company, were honored for their pioneering spirit and extraordinary contributions to the City’s vital tourism industry.

NYC & Company Chairman Jonathan M. Tisch presided over the gala which benefited the NYC & Company Foundation, a charitable and educational organization whose mission is to support and promote New York City. New York Giant all-time leading rusher Tiki Barber served as emcee. Special guests at this year’s dinner included Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; restaurant guru Tim Zagat of Zagat Survey; and Steve Hanson, President of B.R. Guest Restaurants. A special award was presented to Nicholas in celebration of her outstanding tenure as President & CEO of NYC & Company.

“Tonight’s honorees have utilized their unique talents and expertise to help promote New York City,” said NYC & Company Chairman Jonathan M. Tisch. “They’ve helped establish New York City as the fashion and restaurant capital of the world; made strides in promoting and supporting the city’s amazing performing arts and rich culture; and maintained a classic and beloved New York City architectural icon. And for nearly five years, I have been proud to work with Cristyne Nicholas, an accomplished, respected and tireless advocate for the City. On behalf of the NYC & Company Foundation, I am delighted to present our Leadership in Tourism Awards to this truly deserving group.”

"I am honored to attend tonight's dinner, a true celebration of the combined efforts in promoting New York City, the greatest city in the world,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “The integration of NYC & Company, NYC Big Events, and NYC Marketing will make for an even stronger, more dynamic New York. I would like to thank Tiki Barber for helping to make tonight a success and extend my sincere gratitude to all of tonight’s honorees and Jonathan Tisch for breaking new ground in the tourism industry and exemplifying outstanding leadership. I look forward to a successful year ahead.”

On hand to accept the prestigious Leadership in Tourism Awards were: Fern Mallis, Vice President, IMG Fashion; Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group; Alan H. Rappaport, President, New York Market and Chairman, The Private Bank to accept for Bank of America; Peter L. Malkin, Chairman Wien & Malkin to accept for the Empire State Building; and Nicholas.

In addition to the dinner and awards presentation, the evening included a cocktail reception and silent auction. The auction items included four tickets and on-field pre-game passes for the 2007 New York Football Giants season and a Tiki Barber autographed football; theatre and museum tickets; restaurant and hotel packages; a flat screen plasma television donated by J&R Music and Computer World; and exclusive tickets to Fashion Week.

In June of 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the City’s plan to create one single marketing and tourism organization. Under the guidance of Chief Executive Officer George Fertitta, the newly formed company integrated three existing entities- NYC Marketing, NYC Big Events, and NYC & Company- in order to create the world’s leading municipal tourism, marketing, and events organization. To help achieve Mayor Bloomberg’s stated goal of 50 million visitors by 2015,

Fertitta will announce a unified brand identity and multi-channel marketing campaign to strengthen perceptions of New York City both locally and internationally. Jonathan Tisch will continue to provide leadership and guidance to this new endeavor in his role as Chairman of the Board for NYC & Company.

The gala benefited The NYC & Company Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization that supports the arts and cultural organizations that define New York City and enhance its positive image domestically and internationally. Programs like CultureFest, Broadway Under the Stars, and the Borough Cultural Tourism Development Program are all made possible by the Foundation.

Descriptions of the evening’s Leadership in Tourism honorees follow:

Fern Mallis: Vice President of IMG Fashion
IMG Fashion, under Mallis’ leadership, currently produces Olympus Fashion Week in New York, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles, and Sunglass Hut Swim Shows Miami presented by Lycra®. New York’s Olympus Fashion Week is America’s premiere fashion showcase with 80 designer runway shows presented over a period of eight days, twice a year. The event generates over $235 million for the city each season and attracts approximately 100,000 attendees.

Danny Meyer: CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
Danny Meyer launched Union Square Cafe in 1985 and for the next two decades, Meyer and his colleagues have introduced delicious additions to the City’s dining scene including Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, Hudson Yards Catering, and The Modern at the Museum of Modern Art. Meyer is an active member of the NYC & Company Executive Committee and former Chairman of the Restaurant Committee and under his leadership, NYC & Company expanded the popular Restaurant Week promotion, introduced with The Coca-Cola Company a series of Business Building seminars for restaurateurs, and published in partnership with Rizzoli The New York Restaurant Cookbook and Cocktails in New York City.

Bank of America: Accepted by Alan H. Rappaport, President, New York Market and Chairman, The Private Bank
Bank of America is not only one of New York’s most generous supporters of arts and culture in New York City, but perhaps the most innovative. Whether through Museums on US ! which allows Bank of America’s vast customer network to visit more than 50 museums in New York City and the Northeast; the Neighborhood Excellence awards; its arts access programs such as The Metropolitan Opera's Met in the Parks Concerts; or its unique partnerships with many of New York’s world class cultural institutions, Bank of America helps the full range of arts and culture organizations and neighborhoods in NYC thrive.

About the Empire State Building:
Accepted by Peter L. Malkin, Chairman, Wien & Malkin.
A beloved architectural icon, the Empire State Building represents the beauty and grandeur of New York City. Soaring at 1,454 feet the legendary landmark stands out as a prominent part of the urban skyline, is a world-class, state-of-the-art office building, and a top destination for visitors. Since its opening in 1931, the Observatory has welcomed almost 125 million visitors and became one of New York’s most recognized and celebrated attractions as well as the world’s most famous office building.

Cristyne L. Nicholas:
Outgoing President of NYC & Company
Since 1999, Nicholas has been a strong voice for New York City’s tourism industry by marketing the Big Apple to the global travel and meetings markets, growing the NYC & Company membership roster by 62 percent to 1900 businesses and arts organizations, and doubling the organization’s private revenue base. Following the events of September 11, Nicholas spearheaded numerous initiatives including the creation of the city’s first-ever consumer television advertising campaign, new citywide consumer marketing initiatives and seasonal tourism promotions, and major annual events including CultureFest, Broadway Under the Stars, and the new NYC Half Marathon. As a result, international tourism to New York City surged 42 percent in the five years since September 11 to a record 7.2 million foreign visitors. Her success is exemplified in the industry’s complete recovery: a record 44 million visitors expected this year, more hotel rooms open than ever before, and the long-awaited ground-breaking of the expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

About the NYC & Company Foundation: The NYC & Company Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization whose mission is to support and promote New York City, particularly by supporting the arts and cultural organizations that make visiting New York a special and exciting experience, enhancing the City’s positive image domestically and internationally.

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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.