Speaking to 150-plus travel partners and media at New York City’s The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), NYC & Company CEO and president, Fred Dixon, highlighted some groundbreaking additions to the city’s treasure trove of attractions. The weather was as sunny as the tourism outlook for the city, which consistently ranks as the top international destination in the U.S. Drawing a record 62.8 million visitors in 2017 (9.7 million domestic; 13.1 million international), the city is expected to welcome 65.1 million in 2018. The venue was apt, too, since MOMA, which is adding 30 percent more exhibition space as part of a major renovation, is among the major large-scale projects coming to fruition in 2019.
“With an abundance of blockbuster openings across NYC and the historic 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, 2019 will truly be a monumental year,” said Dixon. “We urge people to plan ahead now.” In conjunction with Stonewell, New York City will host WorldPride in June 2019, the first time the celebration has taken place in a U.S. city, with three million people expected to attend, he said.
One of the biggest developments coming in 2019 is Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s Far West Side. The largest private real estate development in U.S. history, it will include The Shed, an arts center that will commission and present works in all media; Vessel, a climbable landmark in a public square/urban garden setting; and an Equinox Hotel. The complex will also have a Spanish food hall, 100 shops including the city’s first Neiman Marcus store, and the city’s highest outdoor observation deck. A new Courtyard by Marriott and 420-key Aloft Hotel are also in the works.
City infrastructure improvements include upgraded terminals and access for four of the city’s international airports: LaGuardia, JFK, Newark Liberty and the fast-growing, rebranded New York International at Stewart Field, 80 minutes by express from midtown Manhattan. In addition, for the cost of a subway ride, NYC Ferry takes riders to Brooklyn, Queens, and starting this summer, the Bronx, and the bike share is expanding to new neighborhoods throughout the city.
Family Travel in NYC
For families, NYC & Company is building on a 2-year program with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (“who were born in our sewers” noted Dixon). The city has expanded its Nickelodeon partnership to include SpongeBob SquarePants and PAW Patrol with a media campaign, running through 2019, allowing the city to “target three individual micro-audiences within the family segment, showcasing how all ages can enjoy New York City,” said Dixon.
In Other News
• An interpretive Statue of Liberty Museum, slated to open May 2019
• Renovation and expansion of the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx
• The Seaport District’s Pier 17 reopening, with rooftop events to come
New hotels are coming online as well. New York City has a current inventory of 117,300 hotel rooms is projected to rise to nearly 137,000 hotel rooms by the end of 2019. The city currently has the highest occupancy rate (88 percent on average) and the highest average daily room rate in the nation. Noteworthy on the hotel front is TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, a 512-room design hotel with a flight museum, rooftop observation deck and pool, meeting space and air train access to JFK terminals—all set in Eero Saarinen’s landmarked 1962 TWA Flight Center and slated to open in early 2019. And slated to open in July, Collective Retreats on Governors Island will offer the city’s first glamping experience. Also noteworthy are Six Senses New York and Westin New York Staten Island, among others.
Value-oriented clients may also be grateful to learn about some of the major city-wide low-season promotions: Restaurant Week (July 23-Aug. 17 2018 and Jan.21-Feb 8, 2019), and now NYC Must-See, Jan 29 to Feb 11, with two for one tickets to participating venues.
For more information, visit business.nycgo.com/travel-trade, which offers downloadable photos and videos for use in promotion, the latest happenings and more. The city offers trade passes to travel advisors (with four weeks’ notice) with discounts and complimentary offerings.