Metro

NYC launches $6M tourism ad campaign with British Airways

City Hall is putting $6 million toward a media campaign to bring tourism back to New York now that the United States lifted its COVID-19 restrictions on foreign visitors, officials announced Tuesday.

Part of that effort is a new “It’s time for New York City” tourism campaign, formed in partnership with British Airways, which includes billboards being installed in the UK to promote eight daily flights to Gotham, said Fred Dixon, head of NYC & Company, an organization that promotes tourism in the Big Apple.

“We’re so happy to have this promotion in the market to create urgency to come to New York City now,” Dixon said during the mayor’s virtual press briefing, noting that international travelers account for 20 percent of visitors to the city but 50 percent of spending and 50 percent of hotel room nights.

NYC & Company head Fred Dixon said that 257 flight from the UK have arrived at JFK airport now that the COVID-19 travel restrictions have been lifted.
NYC & Company head Fred Dixon said 257 flights from the UK have arrived at JFK Airport now that the travel restrictions have been lifted.
Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images
According to Fred Dixon, 20 percent of New York tourism revenue comes from foreign tourists.
According to Fred Dixon, 20 percent of New York tourism revenue comes from foreign tourists.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“This is a pivotal moment in our tourism recovery overall and really the final piece of the puzzle that we needed to rebuild tourism.” 

Prior to Monday, restrictive travel rules first imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration in March 2020 had banned access to non-US citizens traveling from 33 countries, including much of Europe. Travelers from Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil and South Korea are also able to fly to the US, provided they show proof of inoculation against the coronavirus and a negative test within 72 hours.

On Monday, tourists were allowed to enter the US again — if they could show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test within 72 hours of flying — prompting emotional reunions at city airports and tourists making their long-delayed trips to the five boroughs.

Dixon said 257 international flights arrived at Big Apple airports the first day.

Passengers traveling with British Airways from London are greeted in the arrivals area of Terminal 7 at John F. Kennedy International.
Passengers traveling with British Airways from London are greeted in the arrivals area of Terminal 7 at JFK.
Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images
New York City has partnered with British Airways to launch a $6 million tourism bid to bring foreign visitors back to the Big Apple after the COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted.
New York City has partnered with British Airways to launch a $6 million tourism bid to bring foreign visitors back to the Big Apple after the COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted.
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“People are coming here because it’s a great place to be and it’s a safe place to be, because we’re vaccinated. This is the safest place to be in the United States of America, and the travelers are voting with their feet, they’re coming here. We welcome travelers from all around the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during the Tuesday morning news conference.

“We’re particularly anxious to see those travelers back from the UK, [a] great bond we share with the people of the UK. We want to see them come here, and we have this great partnership going with British Airways.” 

Claire Bentley, who serves as managing director of British Airways’ Holidays department, gushed that Brits have been “clamoring” to pay a visit to the five boroughs, citing statistics that indicated visits to British Airways’ website for trips to the Big Apple are up 70 percent compared to two years ago.

Louise Chambers (left) is reunited with her sister Jill Chambers (right) after the first British Airways flight touched down at JFK airport since the U.S. lifted pandemic travel restrictions.
Louise Chambers is reunited with her sister Jill Chambers after the first British Airways flight touched down at JFK Airport since the US lifted pandemic travel restrictions.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“The USA and within that New York is our single most important destination for British Airways and travelers overseas. People have been clamoring to rebook and get back to New York City,” said Bentley. “I noticed on the streets yesterday people are really welcoming us back with open arms, so a huge thank you for that.” 


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