New York City to Welcome Largest Group of Chinese Visitors for a Week of Iconic City Experiences February 14–21

More Than 1,200 Chinese Citizens to Visit New York City at Start of What Is Anticipated to Be a Record-Setting Year for Chinese Visitation

New York, NY (February 12, 2010) — New York City's tourism agency, NYC & Company, will officially welcome the largest group of Chinese visitors in its history next week, when more than 1,200 tourists will travel together to visit iconic City attractions and participate in NYC's renowned Lunar New Year celebrations. Such an opportunity is a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) created in 2007 between the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the US Department of Commerce that formally sanctioned Chinese group leisure travel to the United States. That year, NYC & Company established a representative office in Shanghai, and in 2008 welcomed the first group of Chinese leisure travelers to the United States.

"New York City is home to the largest population of Chinese Americans in the United States and is one of the most desirable overseas destinations among Chinese travelers," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. "We're pleased to welcome the single largest group of Chinese visitors ever to experience not only the excitement and vibrancy of the City, but also to see how we celebrate their cherished holiday, the Chinese New Year, here on the other side of the world."

On February 16, Fertitta will join Chinese Deputy Consul General in New York Mr. Shi Yong to officially welcome more than 500 of the Chinese tour participants at a dinner in Chinatown. The guests will enjoy a program of traditional Chinese New Year performances before receiving the official welcome from the City of New York.

An estimated 209,000 visitors from China and Hong Kong came to New York City in 2009, with strong growth forecasted in 2010 that is expected to bring a record 220,000 Chinese visitors to the City. Last year the average Chinese tourist spent an estimated $230 per day while here, or nearly $1,770 per visit to New York City, and in 2008 Chinese travel accounted for $385 million in visitor spending. Furthermore, preliminary findings of a ground-breaking study of Chinese travel patterns in which NYC & Company is participating revealed that the most frequently mentioned "dream destination" for Chinese long-haul travelers is the United States, with New York City as their number one city to visit.

From February 14 to 21, the Chinese visitors, traveling to the City with Galaxy Tour NY, Inc., will explore NYC in groups of 100 to 200, stopping at landmark destinations, including the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and attending traditional Lunar New Year events throughout the City. February 14 is the first day of the first lunar month, ushering in the Year of the Tiger.

As China's top US tourist destination, many of New York City's cultural institutions and attractions offer services and amenities to Chinese visitors. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art offer Mandarin audio guides, and Gray Line New York Sightseeing's City Tours and CitySights NY offer bus tours in Mandarin. NYC & Company offers a Simplified Chinese language guide and website, and its Official NYC Information Kiosk–Chinatown has Mandarin-speaking Information Specialists available to assist Chinese tourists. To support in-market travel activity and global communications, NYC & Company opened 18 international offices, including three Asia offices, in 2007: in Shanghai, China; Seoul, South Korea; and Tokyo, Japan.

A host of Lunar New Year celebrations in New York City are scheduled throughout the week across the five boroughs will be open to the public. Events include:

Lunar New Year Dumpling Workshop

February 14, 2–4pm, Museum of Chinese in America, $25, registration required

Named NYC & Company's Culture Spot for March, the Museum of Chinese in America will host a Lunar New Year Dumpling Workshop celebrating the food's important role as a symbol of longevity and prosperity in Lunar New Year celebrations.

Annual Lunar New Year Festival

February 13, 2pm and 7:30pm, Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts

February 21, 12:30pm, Long Island University and Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Gar

The New York Chinese Cultural Center brings its 25th Annual Lunar New Year Festival to locations around the City, featuring a variety of impressive traditional dances, including "Strength of the Ox" and "Lotus." Ticket prices vary.

Lunar New Year Dance Sampler

February 20, 2pm, Flushing Town Hall

This multicultural performance features traditional dances from China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.

11th Annual Lunar New Year Parade & Festival

February 21, parade starts at Hester and Mott Streets,1–4pm; festival, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, 12:30–4pm

Chinatown will host one of the biggest Lunar New Year parades and celebrations in the country, replete with iconic dragon dancers, paper lanterns and much more.

For a detailed list of Lunar New Year events in the City, visit nycgo.com.

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 information on visiting and experiencing New York City, go to nycgo.com or visit the Official NYC Information Center at 810 Seventh Avenue (between West 52nd and West 53rd Streets), in Midtown Manhattan.

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