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‘If you build it, they will come’ says de Blasio: New York City investing millions into advertising

Hulu takes a look at the formation of one of the most influential hip-hop groups with "Wu-Tang: An American Saga," premiering this fall. Photo Credit: Hulu

New York City has never really needed to advertise pre-pandemic to get flocks of tourists to revel in its sights and attractions, but it looks like it “ain’t too proud to beg” a little now. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is investing $30 million into a marketing campaign that will hopefully boost the city’s tourism, entertainment, and hospitality sectors past where they were when COVID initially hit.

“This will be the largest ever campaign to promote tourism in New York City, and it’ll remind people that this is the place to be. There’s no place like it in the world, it’s the greatest city in the world for a reason and you can experience so many things here. We’re going to remind people,” said de Blasio.

“If you build it, they will come,” joked de Blasio. The plan is called NYC Reawakens, spearheaded by NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon.

Dixon said that the strategic media plan will span digital and content of all varieties. NYC & Company is throwing out incentives to entice people back to the city, like extending NYC Summer Restaurant Week from July 20 to August 1.

NYC & Company is also looking to promote and capitalize on the individual borough’s vibrant “multicultural” centers as well as hyper-focusing on famous tourist attractions the city has to offer. New York City has been home to countless cultures, foods, types of music, ethnicities, heritages, and festivals, with “Black culture integral to the identity” and arguably the soul of the city. 

That revelation, and the reawakening of the Black Lives Matter movement last year, likely prompted the city’s marketing and tourism organization to recently launch The Black Experience in NYC campaign, which is intended to celebrate and highlight Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and arts within and around the Black, Caribbean, and African diasporas.

The ‘Black Experience’ doesn’t negate the city’s, and by extension the nation’s, long road to recovery from its racial, social, and criminal justice crises, but it does aim to “reinforce its commitment” to heavily impacted minority-owned businesses. 

Latino and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) content will also be rolled out later this year on NYCgo.com, said NYC & Company.

“As the ship turns toward tourism recovery, we’re pleased to present ‘NYC Reawakens’ as a call to action to encourage visitors and meeting delegates to plan and visit the five boroughs this year and experience the City’s unmatched energy, excitement and dynamics,” said Dixon.    

In 2020, the city hit a low point of 22.3 million visitors, according to city data. 

In 2021, predicts NYC & Company, there will be about 36.4 million visitors to the city, and in 2024, the city is expected to exceed its prior 2019 record of 66.6 million visitors with an anticipated 69.3 million visitors if these recovery measures are taken to retain domestic and international travelers.

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