Mayor Bloomberg and NYC & Company Open Travel and Tourism Office in India

     Opening of 18th International Office in Mumbai Marks Completion of
     Two-year Effort to Expand City's Overseas Presence to Reach Goal of
               Attracting 50 Million Visitors Annually by 2012

        Mayor's Film Office Makes Push to Encourage Indian Films to Shoot in
                                New York City

    NEW YORK, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company
CEO George Fertitta today announced the opening of a new tourism and marketing
office in India, the culmination of a two-year plan to strengthen the impact
of the City's $30 billion travel and tourism industry. Travel to New York City
from India grew by 47 percent last year to 157,000 visitors and generated an
economic impact of $266 million. The opening of the office in Mumbai brings
the City's international presence to 18 offices serving 25 countries. Fertitta
   opened the office from Mumbai, where he unveiled new media targeted to the
Indian market and invited Indians to visit and experience New York City. NYC &
Company is the City's marketing, tourism and partnership organization.
    "Tourism is a cornerstone of New York City's economy, and by expanding
our presence to India, we can grow our share of international travel and
bolster its impact on the City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Two years ago we
launched a campaign to expand the City's overseas presence to promote travel
and tourism and help diversify our economy, and that initiative is vital now
more than ever. International travelers represent 19 percent of the total
visitors to New York City but they account for more than 50 percent of total
visitor spending. India is already home to one of the fastest growing groups
of visitors with inbound travel to New York City having more than doubled in
the past five years."
    "There has long been a commercial and cultural connection between India
and New York City," said Fertitta of NYC & Company. "Today, we are extending  
 that bond further by personally inviting all Indian leisure and business
travelers to visit New York City in 2009 and beyond."
    NYC & Company today unveiled welcome videos by television show host and
cookbook author Padma Lakshmi, hotelier Sant Chatwal, and film director, Mira
Nair that invite Indian residents to visit New York City. NYC & Company also
announced that the City's television commercial, "This is New York City,"
would expand into the Indian market, and previewed the third phase of the
City's "Just Ask the Locals" tourist appreciation campaign, which features
Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the first Indian-American to participate in the "Just Ask
the Locals" initiative.
    NYC & Company today also launched the New York City Online Training
Academy for the India travel trade market. The online tool will train travel
agents and tour operators on best practices for packaging and selling New York
    City's five boroughs, as well as educate participants on important facts,
figures and information relevant to a visit to the United States' largest
    "With the launch of our new office, we're giving India's travel industry
the tools it needs to sell the New York City experience to future visitors,"  
 said Fertitta. "It is important now more than ever for NYC & Company to have
a presence in India as we capitalize on this important and growing market."
    New York City is the most frequently visited destination in the U.S. for
Indian travelers, capturing a 28 percent market share. India maintains a
strong Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market, as well as strong business
relations between the two countries. In 2008, New York City is expected to
welcome an estimated 175,000 Indian visitors.
    New York City's travel and tourism industry continues to grow. In June,
Mayor Bloomberg announced the acceleration of the goal to attract 50 million
visitors to New York City annually to 2012 from 2015. Since Mayor Bloomberg
set the goal of '50 by 15' in 2006, New York City has welcomed more visitors
than anticipated, including a record 46 million in 2007. International visitor
arrivals to New York City through the first half of 2008 grew 10 percent over
the same period last year. New York City also remains the top tourist spending
destination in the U.S., recently beating out Las Vegas and Orlando for this
top spot. The City's tourism industry generated $28 billion in economic impact
last year and generated more than 370,000 jobs.
    Mayor Bloomberg initiated an expansion of NYC & Company in 2006 with
additional creative and financial resources, creating the world's leading
municipal tourism, marketing and partnership organization. NYC & Company has  
increased awareness of New York City through its global expansion plan and
strategic marketing campaigns. These include the City's first-ever global
communications campaign, "This is New York City," and the tourist appreciation
campaign, "Just Ask the Locals."
    Since March, 2007, NYC & Company has opened 11 new international offices,
bringing the total to 18. New representative office locations include: Spain
(Madrid), the Benelux countries (Amsterdam), Scandinavia/Finland (Stockholm),
Russia (Moscow), China (Shanghai), Korea (Seoul), Japan (Tokyo), Brazil (Sao
Paulo), Canada (Toronto), Australia (Sydney), and now today, India (Mumbai).
    The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) is also
actively recruiting the production of Indian films to New York City. Film
Commissioner Katherine Oliver is meeting with leaders of India's film industry
to highlight the benefits of filming in New York after recent theatrical
successes of Indian films shot in the City.
    "The success of films like Kal Ho Naa Ho and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, wich
are among the twenty-five highest grossing films in India from the last
decade, shows that Indian audiences are eager to see the real New York City  
onscreen," said Commissioner Oliver. "Every corner of our diverse City is a 
cinematic moment waiting to be filmed, and we welcome producers and filmmakers
to find out just how easy it is to film in New York City."
    The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting offers numerous free
services for productions, including free permits, free locations, and free 
police assistance, as well as tax and marketing credits, making it cost
effective to film in the City. Entertainment production generates $5 billion  
 in economic activity in New York City every year. In 2007, 245 films shot on
the streets of New York City.

For further information:

For further information: Marsha Mowers (NYC & Company - Canada) (647)
293-6724; Kimberly Spell/Tiffany Townsend (NYC & Company - in Mumbai) (917)
497-3122; Chris Heywood/Carli Smith (NYC & Company - in New York) (212)
484-1270; Marybeth Ihle (MOFTB) (212) 489-6710 x247

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