British tourists to be wooed by New York

British tourists are to be the prime target of a tourism promotion by the city of New York in the USA.

A major campaign, involving digital and social media advertising, is to be launched by a US consortium that includes NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organisation, its sponsoring partner, American Express, and Brand USA, the body responsible for promoting travel to the United States. The promotion, which starts today and runs until June 2 this year is titled, New York Summer, and has a budget of USD1.1 million.

The main thrust of the promotion will be advertising on 500 bus shelters across London. The adverts will feature graphics of iconic New York imagery, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as street scenes. Further promotion will be in the form of a blog hosted on social media platform, Tumbir and titled, The British Guide to NYC. It will feature a British author and include photos and posts that provide relevant information for British travellers to the city.

Chief executive of NYC & Company, George Fertitta, said ‘New York City welcomed a record 52 million visitors in 2012 and over a million of these came from the UK – more than any other overseas country. With the New York Summer campaign, we’re not only renewing our commitment to our most important overseas market, we’re also giving Brits a million more reasons why summer 2013 is the time to visit New York City.

‘From free outdoor events such as cinema screenings, concerts and theatre to the 14 miles of beaches, botanic gardens and parks across the five boroughs, summer is the perfect time to visit New York City.’

New York Bans Short-Term Vacation Rentals, Attracts Instant Criticism

Travellers to New York City will have significantly less housing options to choose from over the next few months. The city recently passed a law banning the rental of apartments and houses for periods of under thirty days. New York Governor David Paterson signed the bill after saying that such legislation would likely be vetoed, enraging part-time renters throughout the city.

The bill is a major blow to the city’s inexpensive rental housing industry, which has offered rental properties for vacationers and budget travellers over the last decade. New York City has some of the highest hotel prices in the world, making the vacation rentals an affordable and simple option for families and budget travellers in the city. Hotel prices in Manhattan average around $200 nightly.

Vacation rental owners are planning to take their operations underground, offering the apartments as temporary home-stays using services such as Craigslist and CouchSurfers. The ban was approved by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a recent speech, who claimed that is is as much about apartment safety as it is built to crack down on illegal hotels and vacation rentals.

Paris was one of the first major cities to pass such a bill, pushing a temporary ban on holiday rentals through local government just three months ago. Both arrangements are designed to stimulate hotels and other ‘official’ tourist residences in the city, although owners suspect they will have unintended consequences. Illegal rentals could simply become less visible in the city, leading to potential crime.

However, the bill may still be overturned. Property groups have filed suit with the local authorities, claiming that the bill violates their basic rights and limits the usage of their property. City tourism groups are likely to meet about the matter in the coming days, raising the possibility of a state-level veto and potential reversal of the policy.

New York City’s Picasso Exhibition Draws Crowds, Art Collectors

The recession once extended into the artistic world. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art had made a habit of recycling its older collections, reusing pieces of work, and piecing though its back catalogue in search of items to display. Patronage was down and the museum was operating at its lowest level in decades, leading many to believe the recession was taking its toll on public centres.

But a new exhibition highlighting the work of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso is drawing in guests more quickly than any before it. An estimated 730,000 people attended the exhibition between the end of April and August fifteenth, setting a record for the museum and cementing its position in New York City’s cultural scene. Average daily attendance reached from 6,700 to 7,000 people.

Picasso’s work has long been a staple of the artistic community. The famed painter and sculptor was born in Spain and lived most of his life in Western Europe, pioneering art styles such as cubism and stylistic painting throughout the twentieth century. Owing to the success of the New York exhibition and its impact on attendance, the collection will be displayed at the Seattle Art Museum in October.

The public exhibition has been a wonderful ‘re-branding’ effort for New York City’s art scene, long perceived as a domain for the city’s rich and privileged population. Art collection is an interest for many of the city’s billionaire businesspeople and super-rich families – a reputation that the public exhibition is helping to eliminate. The public display makes the painter’s range available to all.

However, it isn’t quite a complete display of Picasso’s immense talent and ability. The exhibition is made up primarily of his paintings and basic sculptures, with no metal workings or plates available to view. Given the expense and difficulty of transporting the painter’s entire collection worldwide, it is certainly an incredible collection of the artist’s prolific output and creative ability.