New York City intensifies MICE outreach in South-east Asia

Last month, New York City Tourism + Conventions – the destination marketing organization (DMO) and convention and visitors bureau representing the five boroughs of New York City – undertook a joint sales mission to Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

The joint sales mission was led in person by Makiko Healy, senior vice president for tourism market development of New York City Tourism + Conventions.

In a separate interview, Watson Li, New York City Tourism + Conventions’ regional director international MICE, told TTGmice that they were the only US DMO to embark on such an effort, underscoring the importance of the South-east Asia region.

View of Central Park in New York City. Photo credit: Jermaine Ee

Four representatives from Hudson Yards, New York Hilton Midtown, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and Tour America, also participated in the sales mission which included events, appointments, and meetings to reengage with the travel trade in South-east Asia.

This joint sales mission is only the beginning. Li shared that the DMO is planning to organise more fam trips for event planners and agents; conduct in-market sales activities through attendance at regional conventions and tradeshows; as well as hold a series of MICE Education Seminars across key regional cities.

“Singapore is the first entry point into the South-east Asian region, but we are seeing tremendous potential in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam,” said Li.

Since reinstating New York City Tourism + Conventions’ in-market business events representation in the region in May 2022, the state has successfully hosted six incentive groups from South-east Asia. Groups – from the banking, insurance, direct-selling and manufacturing industries – ranged from between 30 and 1,200 people, and programmes lasted an average of three to five nights in New York City. Business delegates also tended to extend their stays after the incentive trip.

When asked what was New York City’s largest draw for business events groups, Li pointed to the city’s myriad skyscrapers and observation decks.

“Beyond spectacular views, Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, Edge at 30 Hudson Yard, One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty Crown all offer various immersive experiences and are capable of handling events and groups of up to 2,000,” he elaborated.

With all its marketing plans in place, Li shared that New York City expects to welcome approximately 140,000 leisure and business travellers from South-east Asia in 2024, nearly recovering from its pre-pandemic visitation levels.

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