Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration (SMTA) and NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, recently announced a first-ever city-to-city partnership to boost tourism between Shanghai and New York City. The new, two-year alliance includes a reciprocal outdoor media advertising exchange in Shanghai and New York City, the sharing of best practices in tourism marketing between the two destinations, and other initiatives designed to stimulate travel between the two cities during this year’s “U.S.-China Tourism Year” and beyond. This marks the first time New York City’s tourism organization has inked a partnership of this kind in China. Chairman of SMTA Yang Jinsong and NYC & Company CEO Fred Dixon signed the agreement this morning at a press conference held at The Peninsula Shanghai.
“2016 is the ‘China-U.S. Tourism Year,’ designated by Chinese President Xi Jinping and United States President Barack Obama. During this year, the city-to-city tourism partnership is especially of great significance for both New York City and Shanghai. Shanghai Municipal Tourism always attaches tremendous importance to the cooperation and mutual benefits with New York City and other world famous tourist cities,” said Chairman of SMTA Yang Jinsong. “In alliance with New York City, we hope to call for a joint force from other world-famous tourist cities to share experiences and theories of tourism development at the appropriate time,” continued Chairman Yang.
“China is a crucially important market for New York City tourism—with our new city-to-city partnership with Shanghai, we will be well positioned during the U.S.-China Tourism Year and beyond to capitalize on more visitation from China’s largest city. We’re incredibly honored to be working with SMTA on this worthwhile initiative to boost reciprocal tourism between Shanghai and New York City,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.
Shanghai’s tourism industry has been flourishing in recent years, generating up to 350 billion RMB Yuan in revenue in 2015, a 2 percent increase year-on-year. This achievement is closely related to the improvement of the city environment and travelling elements. Shanghai Disney Resort officially opened on June 16, 2016. As a world-class theme park in Shanghai, it is also a demonstration project of China-U.S. partnership of cooperation and mutual benefits. Shanghai Tower, under construction for eight years, has begun trail operations step by step. Known as the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world, it becomes a new landmark in Shanghai and a highlight for tourists. Shanghai is now more and more appealing to overseas visitors with such policies as 144 hours of transit visa free (for 51 countries) and tax refund for overseas tourists. Recently, the world’s leading travel media company, Lonely Planet, announced its Best in Asia 2016 list. Shanghai is the only city in mainland China to be named on this list and ranking second place.
Beginning last week, through the cooperation with the Information Office of Shanghai Municipality, outdoor media promoting New York City and its new global “See it for Yourself” campaign will appear throughout Shanghai in four major subway stations through August 11 (People’s Square, Xujiahui, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum and Xintiandi). Additionally, tonight, the façade of the Citi Bank Wall in Lujiazui will be lit with imagery promoting New York City. Reciprocally, Shanghai will receive 164 bus shelters in New York City from September 26 to October 23 to promote Shanghai.
During a recent press event, NYC & Company also announced that international acclaimed pianist and New York City transplant Lang Lang will serve as New York City’s first-ever NYC Cultural Tourism Ambassador. Lang Lang, who has a home in Manhattan, and is a United Nations Messenger of Peace, announced his partnership with NYC & Company via a video statement this morning in Shanghai. Lang Lang’s one-year ambassadorship with NYC & Company coincides with the release of his new album debuting September 16 on Sony Classical, called “New York Rhapsody,” inspired by the City he now calls home. Through his new association with NYC & Company, Lang Lang will promote his favorite places throughout the City. In addition, a “Live at Lincoln Center” PBS Special starring Lang Lang, will air this Fall in the United States. NYC & Company is partnering with Lang Lang to communicate his NYC message to visitors around the world by using his various networks and Chinese social media channels. NYC & Company will also use exclusive video content featuring Lang Lang to further drive inspiration and urgency to visit New York City.
“I’m so excited to see New York City and Shanghai come together to promote two of the world’s destinations. New York City is a special place for me, one that I now call one of my homes. It is a great honor and privilege for me to serve as New York City’s new Cultural Tourism Ambassador for China—New York City inspires me every single day and I look forward to promoting this exciting City to my audiences around the world over the next year,” said Lang Lang.
As part of the new tourism push, NYC & Company will begin promoting more single-destination, longer, flexible and personalized FIT (foreign independent travel) trips to New York City (instead of multi-city tours that the Chinese have been accustomed to in the past), mirroring a new trend in Chinese travel. To that end, NYC & Company is collaborating with Ctrip, Utour, L&L, China Eastern and New York Hilton Midtown to create and promote this new product, being positioned and sold as “Weiwo NYC” travel packages in the China market. UnionPay is also joining forces with NYC & Company by promoting the product to their 5.4 billion cardholders in China, on their official website as well as through their social networks such as Weibo and WeChat.
Shanghai has long been a favorite destination for American tourists, and the number of American visitors travelling to Shanghai remains a stable increase in recent years. In 2015, American tourists made 636,377 trips to Shanghai, with year-on-year growth of 0.61 percent. Among all the attractions, they prefer to experience Chinese culture and visit water towns mostly.
In 2015, New York City welcomed a record 852,000 visitors from China, an all-time high. This year, NYC & Company predicts the City will welcome 921,000 visitors, and by the end of 2018, New York City is aiming to welcome at least one million visitors. China is the City’s third-largest source of overseas visitation behind the United Kingdom and Brazil. Shopping and sightseeing top the list of activities the Chinese enjoy doing in New York City.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration launched the “U.S.-China Tourism Year” project at a Brand USA-hosted event on Beijing on Feb. 29, 2016, bringing together about 350 U.S. and Chinese tourism industry professionals and national and provincial government leaders representing China and the United States, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, and Kelly Craighead, National Travel and Tourism Office executive director. NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon attended the event to represent New York City. During the U.S.-China Tourism Year, both China and the U.S. are working together to increase mutual travel trade through enhanced travel and tourism experiences, cultural understanding and appreciation of natural resources.
Overall, New York City is anticipating a record 59.7 million visitors this year, including 47 million domestic visitors and 12.7 million international visitors. Last year, the City welcomed 58.3 million visitors.
NYC & Company opened its Shanghai, China tourism representative office nine years ago in 2007. For more information about New York City in China, visit the official NYC WeChat, Weibo and Lofter social media channels. To learn more about New York City, visit the New York City section of Brand USA’s China website at www.gousa.cn/nyc or visit NYC & Company’s newly launched consumer website at www.nycgo.com.