NYC & Company is honing in on South-east Asia’s growing outbound travel market, drawing on trade initiatives such as agent training programmes that show what the Big Apple has to offer beyond the known icons.
The company organised its first trade mission to the region earlier this week, covering Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, with five tourism partners – Hudson Yards, The Museum of Modern Art, Tour America, Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park Hotel New York and Hertz – joining the mission to meet with the local travel trade.
High on the agenda are training and education programmes for the travel trade, including on how to take advantage of better deals and to experience more of New York, shared Makiko Matsuda Healy, managing director, tourism market development, NYC & Company.
The DMO recently revamped its online training programme for the travel trade to also include webinars on new offerings in the city as well as other need-to-knows.
Healy shared that NYC & Company wishes to tap into South-east Asia, a region where the outbound travel market is expected to double by 2025 on the back of an expanding middle class.
For 2018, NYC & Company is forecasting visitor numbers from South-east Asia to increase from 221,000 in 2017 to 241,000. On average South-east Asian visitors stayed an average of 11 days in New York City, according to Healy.
Since the opening of its representative office in Singapore in October 2018, NYC & Company has been busy identifying key tourism players in this region and supporting them. Fam trips for agents and the media from South-east Asia are also being planned for in the near future.
The Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam are the top three inbound markets to New York from South-east Asia.
The Philippines, which is the biggest market from this region, is strong with traffic from the VFR (visit friends and relatives segment) and business events, especially incentive travel.
Malaysian outbound agent, Vickie Yong, director, Airlink Travel & Tour, shared the need for US visas, which could be relatively expensive, is the main challenge in selling the destination, adding that many affluent Malaysians would rather holiday in Europe where they enjoy visa-free entry.
Another agent, YJ Chong, senior manager sales & marketing West Division at Apple Vacations & Conventions, shared that US president Donald Trump’s immigration stance has not been a deterrent for Malaysian Muslims and Malaysians in general.
Healy commented: “New York City always celebrates diversity and welcomes people from all over the world, no matter what the immigration policy is. This is the message we wish to convey.”