NEW YORK CITY—Emphasizing the multicultural offerings of the city as a whole, Mayor Bill de Blasio told a room full of hotel owners and investors Monday that New York’s new approach to bringing in hospitality business and investment will be to promote all five boroughs of the city.
Appearing as the luncheon speaker during NYU’s International Hospitality Investment Conference, which was held in Midtown, the Mayor laid the groundwork for his talk by discussing the city’s healthy tourism performance of the last few years but noted that Manhattan isn’t all there is for tourists to see.
“The hotel sector is one of our most vibrant industries,” he said. “Occupancy is up and, just for the week leading up to Memorial Day, Broadway reported its highest gross for the week of the holiday in its history.”
But the city can be doing even more, de Blasio asserted. “We think we’ll do even better by thinking in a five borough context. There are extraordinary things to find across the city. The world has discovered Brooklyn and people all over the world are looking to experience the wonderful things there. But you can come here and experience the whole world, every part of the global culture is available here.
He continued, “We want visitors to experience cuisine and folklore from all over the world. They can see the wonder of Coney Island, experience the Bronx Zoo—one of the world’s leading zoos—and Arthur Avenue, the Italian area there. Also, we’re seeing more tourists interested in the birth of the hip hop movement, which is in the Bronx.”
With a bit of laughter in his voice, de Blasio added, “If you can’t afford a ticket to Greece, Astoria is the next best thing for Greek cuisine. Staten Island soon will have one of the world’s greatest ferris wheels and who knew there’s a little Sri Lanka on Staten Island? If you’ve been wanting to try Sri Lankan cuisine—and I know you have—you can head there.”
Development in the outer boroughs supports the idea of a full city approach, the Mayor said. “Since 2008, 42% of our hotel development has been in the outer boroughs. And all over the world, interest in all five parts of the city is growing.”
De Blasio spoke about his role in growing hotel business while also putting some responsibility at the feet of conference attendees. “It’s important to me to work with you in any way that I can to build the industry. We desperately need jobs and we’re looking to give people the opportunity for advancement in this industry. We can make this industry even more crucial to the future of the city. With your help, NYC will be greatest place to visit for years to come.”