FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG DELIVERS
2004 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION WRAP-UP AND ASSESSES $255 MILLION IMPACT
ON CITY'S ECONOMY
New York City Police Department Kept Entire City Safe While Allowing Free Speech
Overwhelming Majority of Convention Visitors have Favorable Opinion of City and will Return to New York for Vacation-
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, New York City Host Committee 2004 President Kevin Sheekey, and NYC & Company President & Chief Executive Officer Cristyne L. Nicholas today announced the estimated economic impact of the Republican National Convention on New York City’s economy. Preliminary data indicates that the convention generated a gross gain of $341 million in economic activity. At the same time, the City experienced an $86 million loss due to disruptions caused by the convention, creating a net positive estimated economic impact on New York City’s economy of $255 million.
“The Convention offered us a terrific opportunity to showcase New York City to visitors from across the country and promote tourism to the ‘World’s Second Home’,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We showed the world that New York City is safe and open for business, and we are pleased with the overall economic activity generated by the convention. This convention proved that New York City has recovered from the tragedy of three years ago. No other city could host, all at one time, not only a political convention, but also the U.S. Tennis Open, the most highly attended sporting event in the world, home series for two major league baseball teams, hundreds of thousands of political activists exercising their first amendment rights, and have local residents go about their lives with as little disruption as possible.”
“New York City is simply the standard bearer for hosting big events and people from all over the world will continue to flock here to experience what the City has to offer,” said New York City Host Committee 2004 President Kevin Sheekey. “We’ve entered into an era where the list of cities that can hold an event of this size has changed dramatically; what were once 30 or 40 cities is now just a handful. We’re extraordinarily proud that delegates, media and protestors were accommodated here and were able to enjoy and express themselves in the process.”
“In addition to the immediate boost from direct spending on the convention, success gained by hosting the RNC will be reflected in the City’s economy for many year’s to come through increased tourism,” said NYC & Company President & CEO Cristyne Nicholas. “Delegates who took advantage of the successful ‘Come Early, Stay Late’ program, added thousands of additional room nights to our city.”
Traditionally, the last week in August is particularly slow for the tourism industry and is one of the most popular vacation times of the year for New Yorkers, and some retail businesses in the area surrounding Madison Square Garden were inconvenienced by the world-class security. However, overall business activity throughout the five boroughs remained steady. The Convention was also a tremendous success for the hospitality industry. PriceWaterhouse-Coopers estimated hotel occupancy rates to be about 87%, while some of the City’s biggest hotels are reporting occupancy rates of more than 90%. That compares to a 74% occupancy rate during the same period last year.
The City organized the “Come Early, Stay Late” program to encourage delegates, alternates, guests and media attending the convention to turn their visit into a vacation. The Host Committee and NYC & Company recruited more than 400 of New York’s world-class attractions, restaurants, museums, Broadway shows, arts and culture and nightlife. More than 2,200 reservations took advantage of the program, which resulted in 4,441 extra room nights booked. The program, which will run through September 8, added about $500,000 in additional visitor spending in the City. New York became the first city ever to launch a visitor program with more than 70 participating NYC & Company member hotels, restaurants, retailers, cultural organizations, tours and attractions.
In addition, an informal NYC & Company survey of delegates showed that the overwhelming majority of RNC guests have a favorable opinion of NYC, and of the return visitors, the majority of those surveyed have a more favorable impression of New York City than their last trip, which shows that the City is moving in the right direction.
“These folks are the friendliest and most considerate group of people I've met in a long time,” said New Hampshire delegate “Ambassador” Tom Cooleen. “At the end of each conversation I’ve asked when they plan to come back and everyone has answered 30 - 60 days, one delegate is coming back as early as next Wednesday! I've also been amazed at the overwhelmingly positive response from the many diverse groups working on this project, from the NYPD to the hotel’s staff – no matter what the request; everyone has been positive, helpful and maintained a smile. The Broadway experience was one of the highlights of the trip – the New Hampshire delegates will be coming back to see a show.”
Kentucky Delegate Scott Crosbie said, “The highlight this week has been going to some of the non-traditional spots in the City. We will leave NY and head back to Kentucky with a strong impression of all of the ‘ambassadors’ for NYC – the New Yorkers and their great warmth, pride and confidence; we leave with a wonderful impression of what New York City is all about.”
More than 75% said they would return to New York for a vacation, and 85% said they would recommend NYC to friends and family as a vacation destination. The overwhelming majority felt safe in New York and found New Yorkers friendly. The survey also included a plethora of write-in comments from delegates about the friendliness and effectiveness of the members of the New York City Police Department.
The large police presence used to secure Madison Square Garden and other Convention-related locations did not affect police coverage in the rest of New York City. By moving to12- hour shifts, the NYPD was able to maintain and exceed normal police coverage in all five boroughs. Criminal activity remained at record low levels, and was even lower than the comparable week last year. The extensive planning leading up to the RNC was essential in maintaining the public safety of City residents, convention delegates, media and protestors.
Permitted demonstrations, including possibly the largest at any American political convention, went largely without incident. Orderly demonstrations that were not permitted were accommodated, so long as they did not disrupt traffic or reduce public safety. The Police Department was able to facilitate the First Amendment rights of demonstrators while protecting the ability of others to go about their lives.
“From a police operations standpoint, the Republican National Convention was a success,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “The men and women of the New York City Police Department did an outstanding job and have furthered their reputation as the Finest.”
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk
Michael Sherman (EDC)
Paul Elliott/Brian Mahanna (Host Committee)
Lisa Mortman (NYC & Company)