Associated Press

NEW YORK — New York City’s tourism agency has a new annual goal of 55 million visitors by 2015, and it’s planning to reach that by appealing to a specific demographic: young people.

NYC and Company, the city’s tourism and marketing arm, announced the new goal last week as it unveiled NYC 30, a new marketing effort directed at travelers ages 18 to 29. The city hopes to attract an additional 1 million young visitors in the next five years.

The initiative will encourage youth to travel to New York by promoting discounted offers and highlighting what makes the five boroughs a hub for young travelers. On the city’s tourism website, a new page beckons to young people by advertising attractions like the city’s best slices of pizza, vintage clothing shops and night clubs.

To appeal to budget-conscious travelers, a network of affordable, safe hostels is also in the works, although that effort is still in the planning stages. There are currently just a handful of youth hostels scattered throughout the city.

The city says an estimated one out of every three visitors is under the age of 30 and is expected to make up a large percentage of New York City’s repeat visitors in the years to come. Nearly 14.5 young people visited New York City in 2010, constituting almost 30 percent of the city’s total visitor volume.

A record-breaking number of tourists visited the city

last year, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg surpassed his original goal of 50 million tourists in a single year.

As part of the initiative, the city is partnering with MasterCard to create “priceless” NYC experiences exclusive to MasterCard cardholders.


Photo: Courtesy OF Malcolm Brown

Chinatown: Another world.