On Heels of Successful July 4th Weekend, More than 50 Members of NYC’s Tourism Community, City’s Marketing and Tourism Organization Invite Visitors to the World’s Second Home

New Programs and Offers Target Visitors and Residents to Boost Summer Travel Across the Five Boroughs as NYC Continues to Weather the Economic Storm

New York City (July 8, 2009)—Against the backdrop of the recently reopened Statue of Liberty crown, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn surrounded by more than 50 members of the City’s hospitality industry at the Battery in Lower Manhattan today rallied to celebrate summer 2009. On the heels of a hugely successful July 4th weekend—complete with a historic fireworks celebration held along the Hudson to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration of the river—New York City continued to invite visitors from around the world to take advantage of events and attractions across the five boroughs. Residents were also encouraged to explore the many diverse neighborhoods of the City as an affordable solution to rising vacation and travel costs. To help promote all New York City has to offer to residents and visitors, NYC & Company has created and relaunched several campaigns and promotions that will offer consumers deals on hotels, dining, shopping, arts and entertainment and much more.

“We are excited to be celebrating summer 2009 with such enthusiasm and optimism,” said George Fertitta, the CEO of NYC & Company. “The energy and vibrancy of New York City was on full display this July 4th weekend, and we are confident that tourism will remain one of our strongest and most reliable industries in 2009 and beyond. On behalf of NYC & Company and all our members and partners, I would personally like to welcome and invite everyone this summer to come see all that the world’s second home has to offer.”

“The importance of tourism to our city’s economy can not be understated, especially given the current economic situation,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “Much like the recent Rainbow Pilgrimage and the ongoing 9 in '09 campaign, I am thrilled to help launch these new promotions that will encourage people from around the world to visit our wonderful city. Our local businesses thrive through the support of tourist spending and the council is ready to do all we can to make sure visitors continue to enjoy the warmth, diversity and excitement of New York City.”

NYC & Company continues to weather the economic storm, as recent visitor projections approach 2007 numbers—then a record-breaking year—and, on the whole, the City finds itself above national averages across several verticals. More than 11.3 million visitors are forecast to visit this summer, only a small decline from 2008, and New York City continues to maintain its position as the number-one US destination for overseas travelers. In addition, hotel occupancy continues to stay on par with 2008 levels, standing at 83.3% for the week ending June 27, compared with the national average of 65.4%. In fact, the only cities whose occupancy levels approach NYC's are San Francisco (80.8%), Washington DC (80.6%) and Honolulu/Oahu (76.1%). “The numbers are very encouraging—with positive growth in overseas visitation, occupancy rates and even record-breaking numbers on Broadway. And recent reports suggest that the industry has bottomed out nationwide and is gradually beginning to bounce back,” said Fertitta. “While we may not exceed last year’s record-breaking numbers, we still expect a strong year and continue on pace to meet our goal of 50 million visitors annually by 2012. The fact is the City remains an extremely attractive and top-of-mind travel destination, and we are doing our best to ensure it stays that way.” At today’s event, several programs and promotions designed to encourage travel and local activity on the part of both residents and visitors were highlighted. The NYC: The Real Deal program—announced in April—added more than 115 special offers and incentives in addition to 50 new family hotel savings packages as part of the new NYC: The Real Deal Family initiative. Also, through a new NYC: The Real Deal Summer Fridays promotion, created in partnership with American Express,® Cardmembers receive an additional 10% off when they use their registered American Express Cards on Fridays through September 13. Cardmembers should visit to take advantage of more than 50 special offers and to register their American Express Cards. There are no coupons to clip or codes to remember—the savings will be directly credited to the Cardmember's American Express account. To promote the new program, NYC & Company will launch radio, digital and outdoor ads. The total value of the campaign is $2.2 million.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with NYC & Company on the new NYC: The Real Deal Summer Fridays program, an initiative that highlights New York City’s exceptional value and unique experiences this summer,” said Lisa Skiptunis, vice president, client management, American Express Merchant Services. "We are especially excited that Cardmembers who register their American Express Card for this promotion will be able to take advantage of savings all over the City without the hassle of remembering to carry coupons, since the additional savings will appear right on their American Express account statement."

In addition to the NYC: The Real Deal expansion, consumers will also be able to find great value and opportunity through ongoing NYC & Company programs. NYC Restaurant Week returns from July 12–31 (details at, the Third Night luxury hotel promotion runs through September 7 (details at, and the Culture Spot—which features a new cultural institution and special offer each month—continues to run throughout the year (details at NYC & Company also announced today the return of last summer’s highly successful Go Local campaign, designed to encourage New Yorkers to vacation in the five boroughs. Residents will be given weekly updates on must-see and must-do activities at

To further promote the City as a family- and kid-friendly travel destination, Fertitta also announced that the characters of Sesame Street would become official NYC ambassadors. Muppets including Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster will be featured on online and outdoor advertising, as well as on taxicab ads throughout the City.

Photos of today’s event are available at under Todays News.

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 or visit the Official NYC Information Center at 810 Seventh Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets, in Midtown Manhattan.

About American Express American Express Company is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850. Merchant Services is the merchant network of American Express, which acquires and maintains relationships with millions of merchants around the globe which welcome American Express–branded Cards.