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New York tourism rebounds among Chinese tourists, says industry leader

Wang Siwen


New York City is one of several major US cities to sign tourism partnership agreements with sister cities in China. At the 14th China-US Tourism Leadership Summit in Xi'an, Wang Siwen sat down with the president of New York City Tourism and Conventions, Fred Dixon, to find out what the Big Apple has to offer.

Q: New York City is one of the world’s most diverse destinations. More than 1.1 million Chinese tourists went to New York City in 2019, New York City’s second largest inbound tourism source market. Now it is recovering but is still far from full recovery. Are there any strategies to win back Chinese tourists?

Dixon: The Chinese market is very important, as you just highlighted. We've been active in the market since 2007, and we were thrilled with the growth in 2019. That was a record number of visitations for us in 1.1 million. We are thrilled to be back in the market. We partner with the trade; we have two campaigns running at the moment, working with Ctrip and TongCheng. Both campaigns are running through the month of June, promoting New York City and all that there is to see and do.

Q: The 14th China-US Tourism Leadership Summit is underway; New York City and Shanghai are signed to be China-US tourism city partners. Can you share more with us about this cooperation?

Dixon: We're really excited to be back in China for the summit. It's been highly anticipated. We're all excited to be here and there's a lot of optimism which is terrific. One of the things we've done, as you mentioned is we have re-signed our partnership with Shanghai. So, we first signed it in 2016. It's been a terrific cooperation with their team; Shanghai and New York City have a lot in common. Both are international cities, gateways amongst the largest cities in the world. We're really proud today to have re-signed that official partnership with Shanghai and then ongoing dialogue about how we continue to do more.

I think more cities should do partnerships the way we have with Shanghai. I know there's a lot of dialogue going on for those now. We certainly will be telling the story of our experiences here to our colleagues. We feel strongly that the people-to-people exchanges that travel brings are so important today more than ever. We should encourage more travel between our two countries. There's so much to explore.

Q: Due to appreciation of the dollar, it's more expensive for Chinese tourists to travel. How dealdo you deal with such challenges?

Dixon: Visa wait times have been a bit of a challenge in the reopening of the market, but the US State Department has reported that the numbers are coming down.

The other big issue is flight capacities. We know that everyone is focused on this. Before the pandemic, we had 50 or more frequencies or direct services into China per week; today we have about ten, but the good news is demand is strong and travelers are rebounding and they're finding their way back to New York and it's a wonderful thing.

Q: You have said that New York is a destination that never disappoints and always exceeds people's expectations. What's unique about New York City?

Dixon: There's very few places you can do that like New York. So, exploring Brooklyn and Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, uptown and downtown, there's so much to see and do. One of the trends today is value for money. So, no matter if you're at the high end of the market or the middle of the market, everyone today is focused on value, and New York offersso many experiences in one destination.

We're very optimistic that the market will recover strongly this year and we think we will be close to full recovery next year, perhaps even beyond. The city is open and welcoming and it never disappoints people. The city will always offer you something new and exciting to explore. So please do come and visit.

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