January 23, 2009 By News Report
It is incumbent on us to continue to offer our visitors and residents the best tools available to stimulate travel to New York City and within the five boroughs." -- New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (pictured)
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, NYC & Company Chairman Emily K. Rafferty and CEO George Fertitta, and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levinon Wednesday unveiled the city's new Official NYC Information Center in midtown Manhattan and launched nycgo.com, the new online resource for exploring New York City.
The opening of the center fulfills a commitment the mayor made in the state of the city speech, where he discussed the importance of making investments to promote culture and tourism in New York City. The information center and Web site are designed for both visitors and residents and will allow people to better navigate and manage their visits to and within the five boroughs. The new Web site offers information on hotels, dining, attractions and events, and NYC & Company joined with the city's Department of Cultural Affairs to include on the Web site a calendar of New York City's cultural events.
Mayor Bloomberg also announced new corporate partnerships with companies such as Google and Travelocity to provide advanced online capabilities and with content providers such as Time Out New York, Paper magazine, the New York Observer and Greenopia for up-to-date event listings. The mayor was joined for the announcement by Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong and Travelocity Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Glueck at the new Information Center, located at 810 Seventh Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets in Manhattan.
"Tourism is a cornerstone of our economy," said Deputy Mayor Lieber. "Despite anticipated economic challenges this year in the hospitality and leisure sectors, New York City continues to be the number one U.S. destination for tourism spending while leading the nation with the highest hotel occupancy rates. It is incumbent on us to continue to offer our visitors and residents the best tools available to stimulate travel to New York City and within the five boroughs."
The new center, designed by WXY Architecture and Urban Design Local Projects, will feature new interactive capabilities, including personalized itineraries. The center features digital NYC maps and up-to-the-minute event and venue information on attractions throughout the five boroughs. Wall-mounted multi-lingual information kiosks, available in nine foreign languages, offers information on how to navigate New York City with transportation tips and an array of services. Knowledgeable, multilingual information specialists will be on hand to help people develop a comprehensive and easy-to-follow travel itinerary through the use of interactive map tables. The center will also sell MetroCards and tickets to top NYC attractions. The visitor information center, closed in July 2008, was renovated at a cost of $1.8 million.
NYCgo.com features a comprehensive one-stop hub of information for visitors and residents, tailored to the interests of a variety of lifestyle categories, with select information available in nine foreign languages. The Web site, developed in conjunction with interactive agency Huge, Inc., will also feature user-generated content through a new MyNYC feature, allowing site visitors to create personal profiles, provide input on New York City experiences, rate and review venues and events, and share recommendations among users with similar interests. The site is transactional, with partners such as Travelocity and Open Table powering bookings for hotels, flights, car rentals, vacation packages and restaurants. Additionally, the website for the first time will house a dedicated cultural calendar from the City's Department of Cultural Affairs, featuring more than 300 event and exhibition listings submitted by cultural institutions across the five boroughs.
"A New York City experience is not complete without sampling our museums and cultural attractions," said Emily K. Rafferty, chairman of NYC & Company and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "I'm excited that the Department of Cultural Affairs under the leadership of Kate Levin has formed this new partnership with NYC & Company so that visitors and residents can access the latest information on our City's cultural events and exhibitions. No other City in the world can offer the breadth and depth of culture in one place."
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.