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Thread: The Tourists Are Back

  1. #31
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    July 11, 2005

    NYC expects tourism boom this summer


    by Lisa Fickenscher

    The city estimates that a record 12 million visitors will come to the Big Apple this summer, a 4% increase over the same period last year.

    International visitors are expected to reach 1.2 million or 8% of the pie while domestic visitors will reach more than 10 million or 3.5% more than last year.

    City officials are anxious to boost the number of international travelers here because they spend the most money. While foreign visitors generally represent only 15% of all visitors to the city they account for 45% of the spending, says a spokeswoman for NYC & Company, the city’s tourism bureau.

    To encourage people to stay here longer, a group of nine upscale hotels, including The St. Regis New York, The Carlyle and Hotel Plaza Athenee, are offering a third complimentary night if guests use an American Express Card to pay for their visit.


    COPYRIGHT 2005 CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS INC.

  2. #32
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    The further you travel, the more inclined you are to spend.

    If you are coming in, by car, from Ohio, you will probably be less inclined to spend $100 on a dinner.

    If your flight alone costs more than the family from Ohio spent to get everyone there, you are more likely to spend that $100 on a nice dinner you might not do again for who knows how long.....



    I feel the same way when I go skiing. I spend more in the Alps than I do in Vermont.

  3. #33

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    I tend to do the opposite in those situations. My usual thought process runs something like, "holy crap, look how much this flight and hotel cost, I'd better not spend any more."

  4. #34
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Well, my % is still less, all in all.

    But, I don't think I would be too inclined getting a souvenier from Mountain Creek...

  5. #35

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    New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
    City Awash
    in Tourists


    By DAVID SALTONSTALL
    and MAGGIE HABERMAN
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
    Friday, July 29th, 2005

    The Big Apple is bursting with tourists, with a record-breaking 12 million visitors expected this summer, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.


    If those forecasts bear out, New York will see 4% more tourists from Memorial Day to Labor Day than last year - a big feat considering the city hosted the Republican Convention last summer.

    Ten million of those tourists are expected to be from the U.S., with another 2 million from overseas.

    Hotel occupancy rates are 5% higher so far this year - with June setting a new record at 90.4% capacity, according to Cristyne Nicholas, president of NYC & Co., the city's tourism arm. Typically, hotels are most crowded in October.

    "That translates into people actually feeding their families," Bloomberg said. Roughly 300,000 people work in the city's $24 billion-a-year tourism industry.

    The new figures came as the city unveiled its new Heritage Tourism Center yesterday, a glassy information kiosk at the southern end of City Hall Park.

    Officials said the tourism boon has been largely driven by the weak dollar, although they also cited promotional efforts.

    In Times Square yesterday, first-time visitors from all over the globe were awestruck.



    "It's the most electric place I've ever seen," said Patrick Nohann, 40, of Belfast. Stanley Gifford, 22, on a college graduation trip with pals from Lawrence, Kan., agreed. "We've been here since Saturday and this is the most kick-ass city I've ever been to," he said. "I might not go home."
    With Jego Armstrong






  6. #36
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    NY Post

    CULTURE VULTURES FLOCKING TO CITY

    By ANGELA MONTEFINISE

    September 25, 2005 -- Tourists from around the globe flocked in near-record numbers to the city's cultural attractions last year, spending more than $9 billion in the process, according to a report released yesterday.
    NYC & Co., the city's official tourism marketing organization, released the report, saying 17.2 million "cultural tourists" — travelers who visit museums, zoos and other cultural sites — visited in 2004.

    The number is only 300,000 shy of the record set in 2001, when 17.5 million cultural tourists crowded here. The number was 9 percent higher than recorded in 2003, according to the report.

    The report noted cultural visitors accounted for 43 percent of all the city's tourists — and that the segment mirrored the "surprisingly strong revival of the international travel market to the city, as well as the revived domestic market."

    These tourists were no penny-pinchers, either, spending $9.1 billion, up from $8.2 billion in 2003.

    "For every dollar spent, another 60 cents of indirect spending on goods and services powers the city's economy in all five boroughs," said Cristyne Nicholas, president and CEO of NYC & Co. "This brings the total economic impact of cultural visitors to the city to nearly $15 billion."

    In 2001, the year of 9/11, a record number of cultural visitors came to the city, the report said. But the numbers dropped in the years after.

    The report broke down cultural tourists into domestic travelers and international travelers.

    About one-third of the tourists — 4.3 million — were from abroad, a 31 percent increase from 2003. Their favorite activities were shopping, dining and visiting historic sites. They spent an average of $98 a day, and stayed for about a week.

    Domestic visitors, who were mostly day-trippers, spent an average of $190 a day. Their top activities were concerts and other nightlife, dining and sightseeing.

    "Cultural offerings have long been key to the city's tourism industry, and indeed, the very identity of New York City," said Kate Levin, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

    "I am delighted that the excellence and energy of our creative community are drawing so many domestic and international visitors."

  7. #37
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    9/25/05

    Takin' tourists for a ride

    News puts city's tourist guides to the truth test – and guess what?

    By DOUGLAS FEIDEN
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


    Tour guide named Hank lays it on the tourists on one of Gray Line's double-decker buses.

    Tenants have only one working bathroom in each tenement on the lower East Side. "Greens-workers" from the Parks Department sometimes live in Central Park.
    Those are among the whoppers, tall tales and blasts from the past told to tourists from around the globe when they spend good money on guided sightseeing tours.

    To experience New York the way visitors do, the Daily News took 11 two- to three-hour double-decker bus tours over a 10-day period, hopping on and off the buses frequently to hear presentations from 25 guides.

    Anyone can repeat the experiment. A bus ticket valid for 48 hours, with unlimited hop-on, hop-off privileges, costs $49. And here is our look at the top urban myths that our tour guides helped perpetuate:

    ***

    "You see that white building with the blue windows? That's where Malcolm X was killed," said Lisa Gordon, a guide with Gray Line New York Sightseeing, as she pointed at a church on W. 116th St. at St. Nicholas Ave.

    Wrong. The 1965 assassination — a watershed moment in African-American history — took place nearly 3 miles away, on the other side of Harlem, in the Audubon Ballroom at Broadway and W. 165th St.

    ***

    Four Gray Line guides and three from CitySights NY, its smaller rival, repeatedly referred to Rudy Giuliani as if he were still mayor. None of the seven mentioned Mayor Bloomberg.

    ***

    Five guides pointed out the place where Harrison Ford calls home. The only problem: he doesn't live in the Dakota, the SoHo Grand, the Pierre Hotel or Time Warner Center. Only the guide who placed him in Trump World Tower had it right.

    ***

    "New York is famous for its Gothic architecture, and that, in fact, is how it got its nickname — 'Gotham City,'" said a CitySights guide who identified herself only as Sara.

    "Not true," said Mike Wallace, who has taught urban history at the City University of New York for 34 years and is the co-author of "Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898."

    The original Gotham — the name means "Goat Town" in old Anglo-Saxon — was a village near Sherwood Forest in England that was the "proverbial village of idiots," Wallace says.

    "But the countertradition was that they were wise fools only pretending to be idiots — like the canny traders who got the Indians to cough up Manhattan."

    Washington Irving first used the word Gotham to describe New York in 1807 in his satiric "Salmagundi" essays, and it was widely popularized in the 1940s in Batman comic books.

    ***

    "You don't hear too many people honking their horns in New York City because they're afraid of the $350 fine," said Gray Line's Roger Berdahl.

    Huh? The fine is on the books on lower Fifth Ave. and other parts of Manhattan, but rarely enforced.

    ***

    Pointing out the Parsons School of Design, Berdahl said, "It's affectionately known as the Fashion Institute of Technology." Parsons, which is part of the New School, and FIT, which is in the state university system, are separate institutions.

    ***

    He also said Bloomingdale's is on Central Park and that the towering statue in Foley Square near the African Burial Ground is a "Dutch farmer's antelope hat."

    Actually, Bloomingdale's is still on Third Ave. and the statue, "Triumph of the Human Spirit," features an antelope headdress worn by Bamana tribesmen in Mali in West Africa.

    ***

    A one-time Broadway actor who appeared in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," Berdahl colorfully imitated the beatniks who he and at least six other guides claim still linger in the Village. "Hey, man," he said. "Dig it, man."

    "It's good to explain how Greenwich Village was a center of Bohemian life and thought and action," said Kenneth Jackson, editor of "The Encyclopedia of New York City" and former president of the New-York Historical Society.

    "But it's also important to convey an accurate portrait of the city — or else people from Dubuque will wonder how a beatnik can afford $4,000 a month in rent."

    ***

    "Yuck!" said Pamela Barnette, a Gray Line guide, as she pointed to a tenement on Allen St. near Delancey St.

    "Most people who live in these buildings don't have a bathroom in their apartment or on their floor, just in the tenement itself."

    That would have been true from the 1880s to the 1930s. But in 1935, a tough new building code mandated a bathroom in each apartment and sanitary conditions improved over the next three decades. Yuck? Rents on the lower East Side are skyrocketing.

    ***

    SAD-EYED BEATNIKS still mope around the streets of Greenwich Village. Hippies chant "flower power" from their Volkswagen Beetles in the East Village.

    One guide claimed adults aren't allowed into the Central Park Zoo unless accompanied by a child.

    And one said Lincoln Center was built so the street gangs featured in "West Side Story" would have nowhere to rumble. ***

    One guide said screaming, hysterical flappers went wild when Frank Sinatra played the Paramount in Times Square in the 1890s.

    The truth: Some 25,000 swooning bobbysoxers desperate to see a young Ol' Blue Eyes did riot on Broadway, but the date was 1944.

    ***

    The bottom line: Sure, there are 8 million stories in the Naked City, but the ones told atop New York's distinctive red tourist wagons are often misleading, out of date or just plain wrong.

    The tour companies do defend themselves.

    "People are not looking for a history lesson," said David Chien, Gray Line's director of marketing. "They're looking to be entertained and to have a grand experience traveling 13 feet in the air through the City of New York."

    Gray Line's Hal Glicksman did provide entertainment on a recent Brooklyn Loop Tour — but he did it by trashing the borough's most beloved culinary and cultural landmarks.

    "It's one of the most hideous things I've ever seen in my life," he said of the splashy new entrance pavilion at the Brooklyn Museum. "What were they thinking?"

    Grimaldi's Pizza, on Old Fulton St. under the Brooklyn Bridge, fared no better. "I took one bite of it, I threw it away. It was just horrendous," Glicksman said.

    The opinionated Brooklynite also dismissed Junior's, the world-famous eatery on Flatbush Ave.: "It's going to be a cold day in hell before this tour guide spends $5 for a slice of highly overrated cheesecake."

    Hey, it's New York, so expect a little pizazz, says Cristyne Nicholas, president of NYC & Company, the city's convention and visitors bureau.

    "There's bound to be human viewpoints and errors when you have real-life New Yorkers conducting tours, but that's what makes it so interesting, and that's the reason to take more than one tour," she said.

    "We're training new and better guides every day and making them more entertaining, interactive and accurate," said Jennifer Ackerson, CitySights' vice president of sales and marketing.

    It's not hard to join the ranks of the 1,500 sightseeing guides licensed by the city's Department of Consumer Affairs.

    Applicants must take a 150-question, multiple-choice exam about Big Apple history, culture and landmarks, which was updated to improve standards in 2003. But they only have to answer 97 questions correctly, meaning 64.6% is passing.

    It shows.

  8. #38
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyO
    Applicants must take a 150-question, multiple-choice exam about Big Apple history, culture and landmarks, which was updated to improve standards in 2003. But they only have to answer 97 questions correctly, meaning 64.6% is passing.

    It shows.
    Maybe the Department of Tourism could join up with the Department of Education and come up with a new program:

    "No Guide Left Behind"

  9. #39
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    City sidewalks, busy sidewalks

    'Tis the season to be overcrowded; NY, businesses seek ways to cope with record numbers of tourists

    by Lisa Fickenscher

    As tourists joust for prime tree-viewing spots at Rockefeller Center and shove their way into Macy's and Bloomingdale's, the city is fighting to reclaim every possible inch of sidewalk and street space to make room for the crush of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

    The Big Apple is girding to host a record 8.2 million visitors in November and December, according to tourism bureau NYC & Company. City and neighborhood officials as well as big retailers have been scrambling to prepare for the onslaught and to lay out plans for future years that promise even bigger crowds.


    "We are reaching a crisis point at certain times of the year in terms of pedestrian flows," says Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, who wants to banish phone booths from the congested neighborhood.

    For the first time since the period just after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the city is offering New Yorkers free round-trip MetroCards when they park their cars at Shea Stadium in Queens and take the No. 7 train rather than drive into Manhattan. The offer applies only on Wednesdays, when Broadway holds matinees, through Jan. 4. Similarly, the Department of Transportation is encouraging tour bus operators to drop their passengers at Shea, where riders will get the free MetroCards.

    "After 9/11, we were all worried about whether people would come back to the city," says Iris Weinshall, commissioner of the DOT. Now, she spends her time convincing bus companies not to come into Manhattan.

    The DOT issued the year's first holiday gridlock alert a couple of weeks earlier than usual this year, on Nov. 18. The agency also has been creating more midblock crosswalks, including one at Macy's on West 34th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, which was set up in September.

    Big retailers have their own creative solutions to manage the throngs of shoppers streaming through their doors.

    Bloomingdale's on East 59th Street and Lexington Avenue recently hired 21 greeters to help shoppers navigate the 11-floor store.

    "Bloomingdale's is one of the top five tourist destinations in the city," says Frank Berman, vice president of marketing. "This will help separate us from the other retailers."

    The store also expanded its visitor center, moving it into a 2,100-square-foot space and manning it with 15 staffers who speak a total of 15 languages. Shoppers are offered printed directories to take with them as they browse.

    While Bloomie's is working on congestion inside its store, some neighborhoods are coping with streets that become choked with people and vehicles during the holiday season. SoHo, for example, gets more than its share of shoppers and gawkers at this time of year. The competition for space on the narrow streets is exacerbated by illegal street vendors, says Sean Sweeney, director of SoHo Alliance, a residential and business group.


    Peddlers warned away


    "The city has gotten them off of Fifth and Sixth avenues, but it doesn't seem to have the will to do it in SoHo," he says.

    Some landlords have begun to take matters into their own hands, putting signs on their buildings such as the one on Spring Street that says, "This sidewalk is 10.5 feet; therefore peddling is de facto prohibited."

    Ultimately, the crowds are good for the economy, but city officials want tourists to enjoy their New York experience. While the even greater multitudes expected next year might seem to be cause for concern, "there's been more discussion this year about how to handle the growth," says Cristyne L. Nicholas, chief executive of NYC & Company.


    Lights out on Broadway


    To pave the way for more feet, Mr. Tompkins of the Times Square Alliance is seriously considering pushing for the elimination of lampposts and pay phones in the neighborhood.

    "People don't use pay phones anymore," says Mr. Tompkins, who notes that street lighting in Times Square is clearly redundant.

    Another key project in that part of the city is the renovation of Duffy Square, at Broadway between West 47th and West 46th streets, home of the major TKTS booth for discounted theater tickets.

    The DOT just approved a plan that will enlarge the island by 40% and provide the neighborhood with its first seating area. An 18-foot-tall glass staircase will be built above the TKTS booth, allowing tourists to gaze over the world's stage without bumping into unsuspecting New Yorkers rushing to work. The $12.5 million project is supposed to begin in March.

    Mr. Tompkins' group is also studying how to enlarge the sidewalk space elsewhere in Times Square and how to connect the string of the islands sandwiched between Broadway and Seventh Avenue in the West 40s.

    "Over the last decade, as Times Square has become more successful and tourism has come back, there is more recognition that we have some problems as a result of our success," says Mr. Tompkins.

    Comments? LFickenscher@crain.com

  10. #40

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    http://www.gothamgazette.com/

    Record Year for Tourism

    A record 41 million people visited New York last year, according to estimates from city tourism officials. In November and December alone, 8.25 million tourists visited the city, spending $4 billion on hotels, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, one of the best holiday seasons in years. These numbers seem to indicate that the predicted economic disaster of the subway strike did not come to pass. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there’s no reason to expect the trend will reverse, but he and other city officials took the chance to urge the importance of faster progress on the Javits Convention Center.

  11. #41
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    And Glory be to January, when the tourists head back home, everyone slows down just a bit and the sidewalks are walkable once again

    ***

  12. #42
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    Yes, the Numbers Show the Crowds in the City Were Real

    By MIKE McINTIRE
    Published: January 6, 2006

    The early statistics are in, and they confirm the suspicions of many who found themselves cheek by jowl with strangers in Midtown crowds over the holidays: More people than ever visited New York City last year.


    Preliminary estimates from city tourism officials are that a record 41 million visitors came to New York in 2005, including 8.25 million in November and December, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. Those holiday season tourists spent more than $4 billion in the final two months of the year on hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

    "The last week of 2005 was also the single highest grossing week in Broadway history," said Mr. Bloomberg, adding that he went to see "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" on New Year's Eve. "More than 280,000 people took in a show, and I was one of them."

    The upbeat estimates seemed to deflate the dire predictions of the mayor and other officials that hundreds of millions of dollars would be lost because of the transit strike in late December.

    Hotel occupancy last month was 86 percent, up 3 percent from a year ago, and the lack of public transportation did not seem to greatly slow the influx of visitors to the city, the statistics show.

    Still, the mayor said the strike "certainly did not help" the city's economy, and probably hurt small businesses and their employees the most. He made his remarks during an appearance at a visitors' center in Midtown Manhattan, where he said that early indicators suggested the surge in tourism is continuing into 2006.

    One factor that city tourism officials say has contributed to the boom in visitors is that favorable exchange rates for some currencies have made going to New York a bargain for many international tourists. And the increase in guests from other countries is good for the city, because foreign tourists generally spend more during their trips than Americans do.

    Of the foreign tourists, "what's important to keep in mind is that they are responsible for about 45 percent of what is spent in New York City," said Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman of NYC & Company, the city's tourism bureau. "So about 18 percent of our visitors spent about 45 percent of the dollars that they dropped into the coffers of New York City businesses."

    Mr. Bloomberg said there was little reason to expect that the influx of tourists would slow anytime soon. According to NYC & Company data, attendance at New York tourist attractions is currently running about 15 percent higher than a year ago, and that the number of visitors passing through city airports is 7 percent higher.

    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

  13. #43
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    NYC expects record number of tourists in 2006


    by Catherine Tymkiw
    January 17, 2006

    Get used to crowded sidewalks and busy cash registers this year. Tourists are expected to flock to the Big Apple in record numbers, according to NYC & Company.

    The city’s tourism bureau anticipates a record 43.3 million people will visit the city, up 4.5% from 2005. The number of international visitors should rise 7.5% to a record 7.2 million. The totals would mark a full rebound from the tourism slump following the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Tourism generates more than $22 billion in spending, $5.4 billion in taxes and $13 billion in wages, according to NYC & Co. and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who jointly announced the 2006 forecast.

    “Tourism, which supports nearly 330,000 jobs in our city and which is so vital to New Yorkers who are just starting their climb up the economic ladder, has more than made up the ground we lost following 9/11,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement.

    Business travelers are increasingly attending trade shows and conventions held here. Attendance at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center topped 2.25 million last year -- the second-highest annual total.


    ©2005 Crain Communications Inc.

  14. #44

    Thumbs down

    because of the obligation of 'passport biometric' to enter to the USA (passport which exist not yet in Europe). French is obliged to request a visa from the embassy of USA.but the embassy is completely overflowed of request and donot can follow any more. what makes say to the tour operators, that 20% (where 30%) of French will not be able to go to the USA because the visas will not be delivered in time.but the problem also arises for the tourists who go to Mexico and who must pass by the USA. Without visa, prohibition to pass.
    the USA decided anything to change does not have their policy, whereas Europe had asked for a carryforward of one year to be ready.
    I think sincerely that Europe should make the same thing with the USA, by knowing that the USA have also a problem to deliver this 'passport biometric' with American

    (sorry for my english)

  15. #45
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Comelade, will you be able to come this year and bring Amede?

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