From the Inside with Makiko Matsuda Healy

Makiko Matsuda Healy
SVP of Global Tourism Development for NYC & Company

As Senior Vice President of Global Tourism Development for NYC & Company, Makiko Matsuda Healy has the overall responsibility for strengthening New York City’s position as a premier travel destination, with a primary focus on product distribution channels and strategic trade partnerships. She oversees the global tourism development team in New York City and the company’s network of 17 international sales & marketing offices in 28 markets.

 Healy is an advisory board member of International Inbound Travel Association (IITA) and a board member of the Japanese Travel Industry Association (JTIA)

1. New York City has the highest city visitation of overseas guests to the U.S. (according to the 2015 NTTO Survey). Outside of obvious factors, what has been the key to New York City’s success?

Repeat travel is one of the most important factors in New York City’s continued record-breaking international visitation. With our ongoing efforts across the globe and work with 17 international offices that reach both trade and consumers, it’s important for us to get the word out about all the new opportunities that visitors can take advantage of on their next visit.The diversity of the market mixed with core feeder and emerging markets is also a key-factor to our City’s tourism industry. On average, international visitors spend more time and money in New York City when compared to our domestic market, which is key for our city’s economy.

2. Some may argue that with such high visitation numbers you don’t need to work with Inbound Tour Operators, yet you continue to work with ITOs and find the relationships important, why?

Inbound operators are the ones who have ability to extend New York City’s market reach and amplify our message.  Increase of online booking is inevitable, but the inbound operators play an important role in fulfilling demand with recent trends of personalized and in-depth destination experiences.

3. What impact have you seen from Trump Administration policies?

New York City remains a diverse and welcoming destination for all visitors, no matter their background. We recently launched our new “Welcoming the World” communication and marketing campaign, which has been rolling out in key international markets including the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Mexico. NYC & Company continues to reinforce this message and we want to make sure that tour operators know that we welcome business from their markets.

4. What new things are happening in NYC that international visitors will be interested in?

The “new” New York City continues to attract visitors from all over the world with new hotels, attractions, restaurants, shops and more.New York City has more accommodation options than ever before, including new properties like 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge Park in February 2017, the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown in September 2016 and recently The Whitby (Firmdale Hotels) in Midtown Manhattan this past March.This year, Midtown Manhattan is home to several new attractions, including Gulliver’s Gate, a miniature interactive world that features several countries and icons from around the world, as well as the upcoming National Geographic ENCOUNTER: Ocean Giants attraction, where visitors will be virtually immersed by marine life and feel as if they are exploring under the sea.

Two other exciting additions include the NFL Experience Times Square this fall, where American football fans can test out their skills and dive into the NFL training regimen with physical challenges, as well as Opry City Stage, opening this summer, which will feature live country music and a menu of Southern favorites themed after the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

In 2018, Staten Island will see the opening of the City’s first outlet mall, Empire Outlets, along with the New York Wheel, which will be the tallest observation wheel in the world.

5. How has IITA helped your international business?

IITA helps us in developing and maintaining working relationships with inbound operators, suppliers and industry colleagues, as well as providing educational opportunities for our team.  The organization also provides platforms to address key industry-wide issues.