Proof is in that NYC remains the greatest city in the world despite ever-increasing crowds, dilapidated subways, persistent mounds of garbage and skyrocketing costs. Travelmole reports that a record # of visitors descended on the city in 2006 making it another great year after 05. All very good news for the Big Apple’s hoteliers but a few suggestions to make NY the permanent crown jewel of America’s top cities
– Improve the transportation system – MTA seems to believe that with it’s $2 ride, New Yorkers should only expect to get from A to B – not comfortable, clean cars or litter-free, non-smelly stations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, London, another city with similar attributes of high costs, a multiplicity of ethnicities and crowds also has the same subway (known as the Underground) problems.
– Improve the facilities available in less glamorous parts of the city like Queens and the Bronx. People equate NYC with Manhattan for good reason – the rest of the city still resembles a forgotten dumpster of run-down apartments, neglected “attractions”, ghetto-like neighborhoods and uncared-for-public spaces. During the heatwave last year, a good part of Queens experienced blackouts reminiscent of conditions in underdeveloped countries. The private sector is doing a fine job of stepping up by developing areas in Long Island City and Brooklyn that have been rezoned but the gap remains large when it comes to infrastructure. The city is slated to unveil plans for the Bronx but the contrast between boroughs remains stark.
– Improve the image and conditions of America’s 2 worst airports – both in NYC (JFK and Laguardia). Newark Liberty is not far behind. One welcome step is the provision of competition by the decision to make Stewart International airport in Newburgh, NY as the area’s “fourth” airport. But it remains a long way, literally and figuratively, from getting there.
– Legal immigrants who power the city’s tourism industry need to be given more access to educational opportunities and career advancement. A happy work force means better customer service in NYC’s travel & tourism industry.
Of course, perception is more than half the battle and the Big Apple has done much over the past decade to promote itself through NYC and Company, the City’s tourism promotion agency. That effort is getting a significant boost through city funds and some oversight as can be read in yesterday’s New York Times article on George Fertitta, the new CEO.