City Businesses Prepare to Welcome Visitors and Couples with Special Offers and Promotions

New York City (January 13, 2009) Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Robert C. Lieber, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and Cunard Line President Carol Marlow today announced that an estimated 46 million people from around the country and the world visited the City in 2007—up 5% from last year’s all-time high of 43.8 million visitors. This record-breaking number, also announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on his Sunday radio address, includes an estimated 8.5 million visitors from other countries, representing critical growth of nearly 20% in the total international market over 2006. The announcement at the new Manhattan Cruise Terminal came on the occasion of the Cunard Royal Rendezvous, a historic meeting of the line’s three Queen luxury ocean liners in New York Harbor. Lieber, Fertitta and Marlow also announced a new partnership between NYC & Company and Cunard Line to air the City’s global television spot in the staterooms of all arriving vessels.

“The 46 million people who visited New York City in 2007 are invaluable to help drive the City’s economy,” Lieber said. “The impact of the $28 billion spent by visitors reverberated across the City’s economy, from our shops and restaurants to our hotels. With the City well on its way to achieving the Mayor’s goal of 50 million annual visitors by 2015, we’ve also increased our efforts to make New York even more welcoming to visitors. Our new partnership with Cunard will provide their passengers with a special welcome to the City and generate even more excitement for the time they’ll spend here.”

On Sunday night, Queen Victoria (after her maiden call), the flagship Queen Mary 2 and the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 will rendezvous at approximately 7:30pm to sail past the Statue of Liberty. Thousands of well-wishers are expected to gather at viewing points around the city such as Battery Park, Hudson River Park, the Esplanade and Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park to see the ships and fireworks by Grucci.

In addition to the $28 billion in visitor spending forecast for 2007, the past year is on track to break a long list of record levels for New York City’s travel and tourism industry. This includes a new high for domestic visits to the City, which are estimated to have increased to 37.8 million visitors, up from 36.5 million people in 2006. Projections also call for new highs in all international travel and all overseas travel, as well as visitation specifically from the UK, Scandinavian countries, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, Russia, India and China. The UK, Canada and Germany have been identified as the City’s top three markets. Projections show that visitors spent an estimated $28 billion throughout the five boroughs, an increase of nearly $3 billion over 2006.

“Competition is fierce in today’s global economy, and for some time America has suffered from negative impressions that exist worldwide,” said Jonathan Tisch, chairman of NYC & Company, the marketing and tourism organization for the City. “But New York City has taken the lead in combating these perceptions, proactively reaching out to the world with a bold and targeted global marketing campaign. And, as this incredible growth shows, these steps are ensuring that we remain the world’s premiere travel destination.”

“We began this year with a strategic plan to grow tourism—in particular in key international markets—and these numbers show that our hard work is taking real effect,” Fertitta said. “By capitalizing on beneficial exchange rates, expanding our international network and launching a global communications campaign to promote the City, we have not only raised awareness of the excitement of the five-borough experience, but also inspired potential visitors to act on their interest and make a visit to New York City a reality.”

NYC & Company added nine new international offices in 2007 for a total of 16 locations serving more than 22 countries. The past year also saw the launch of the tourist appreciation campaign, Just Ask The Locals™, and the global communications campaign, This Is New York City™. The global campaign includes the 60-second television spot that will now air in the staterooms of arriving Cunard Line ships as part of the new partnership. The spot communicates the joy and excitement of being in the City while illustrating the extraordinary diversity of experiences throughout the five boroughs.

Cunard Line has a storied history with the City that dates back over a century, and the Port of Brooklyn currently serves as the home port of call for their flagship Queen Mary 2. The rendezvous taking place on Sunday marks several milestones for the Cunard Line—the start of the maiden world cruise for Cunard’s newest liner, Queen Victoria, the start of the 26th and final world cruise for the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 and the first and only time all three Cunard Queens will ever be together, since the QE2 will retire later this year.

“We are delighted for this day to be declared ‘Cunard Royal Rendezvous Day’ here in New York and to celebrate this history-making moment in our number one market in North America,” said Carol Marlow, president and managing director for Cunard Line. “New York City is one of the great world destinations, and we take pride in bringing hundreds of thousands of tourists to discover the joys of this destination each year.”

The Manhattan Cruise Terminal, Queen Victoria’s berth on Sunday, is currently undergoing a major renovation. Both Pier 88 and Pier 90 will be upgraded and the project is expected to be completed in summer 2008. The piers will have separate embark/debark areas, food service, modern customs processing facilities and ADA compliant gangway systems. Other amenities include a designated taxi spot, new elevators and escalators, new PA systems and an enhanced passenger waiting area. The project is estimated to cost about $200 million.

In 2006 the cruise industry contributed $1 billion in direct spending to the New York economy, according to a Cruise Lines International Association study released in August 2007. Embarkations from the Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals totaled 536,000, making New York the nation’s sixth busiest cruise port during 2006.

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.


Kimberly Spell
NYC & Company
tel 212 484 1270

Brian O’Connor
Cunard Line
tel 661 231 5060