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Vallone Proposes Creation of an Office of Interagency Tourism Affairs

On Wednesday, October 23 Councilman Paul A. Vallone chaired an Economic Development Committee hearing focused on New York City tourism, where his bill to create an Office of Interagency Tourism Affairs was discussed by committee members and the mayor’s administration.

Currently, NYC & Company functions as the city’s tourism bureau and handles marketing to maximize opportunities for travel and tourism in New York City, build economic prosperity and spread the dynamic image of NYC around the world. Both NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon and NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) representative Sabrina Lippman said in testimony that their respective organizations support the intent of the bill.

“We do support the intent of the bill and we think there’s a lot of good things in there,” said Lippman. “If we have those lines of communication with DOT, or with DCLA with any of our cultural institutions, we’ll be able to connect with them and field those (issues) to the appropriate agency.”

In 1998, around 33 million people came to visit New York City. By 2018, that number nearly doubled to 65.1 million people. Tourism is a major economic driver, with $46.4 billion attributed to direct visitor spending in 2018, and has grown to be the fourth largest job sector in New York City.

“From a hot restaurant on Astoria Boulevard, to the Brooklyn Museum, to Aladdin on Broadway in Times Square, our local business owners and entertainment centers should have a dedicated place to turn to when faced with day-to-day city issues like reporting a lingering construction project or navigating the city’s permitting process,” said Councilman Vallone. “While NYC & Company continues to do great work promoting New York City from a large-scale advertising and marketing perspective, an Office of Interagency Tourism Affairs would provide focused coordination between city agencies and the business, arts and entertainment hubs that will contribute to continued success in our city’s tourism sector, as well as sustained quality of life for our New Yorkers.”

Read More: Queens Gazette