In tourist magnet NYC, which international visitors like which art forms?

Michael Idov, New York Magazine, 11/27/11

This year, barring some unexpected hiccup over the next few weeks, New York will have played host -- for the first time in its history -- to 50 million tourists. In 2010, the city [welcomed] 39 million domestic tourists, compared with 9.7 million international travelers, and behaviorally, the two groups couldn't be more different. Americans, the majority of whom pour into the city through the East Coast "Amtrak corridor," stay an average of 2.7 nights and spend an average of $432 while they're here. The internationals, by comparison, stay 7.3 days and spend an average of $1,700. Australians are the most adventurous. They are the most likely to attend a sporting event, go dancing, shop, buy tickets to a concert or a play -- anything, really. The French are the likeliest to attend an art gallery or a museum. The British, Irish, and Arab Middle Easterners are the least interested in art. [It] is an open secret among New York's jazz community that our jazz clubs are, at this point, all but subsidized by older Japanese men. After observing Brazilians' consumer behavior and realizing they are disproportionately taken with Broadway theater, NYC & Company sent five musicals to São Paulo. Between 2009 and 2010 alone, the number of Brazilian tourists in the city increased by an incredible 77%. And the typical Brazilian drops $415 a day here, about double the international average.


Art Basel fair has repositioned Miami as a cultural destination

Douglas Hanks, Miami Herald, 11/28/11

Throughout the 1990s, the post-Thanksgiving stretch was a sleepy time for tourism in South Florida. Enter Art Basel Miami Beach, which brought the country's largest contemporary arts fair to the first week of December.  "I use the term 'Basel effect' quite often,'' said Rolando Aedo, SVP of marketing at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. "From a business perspective, the numbers are outstanding." Compared to results seen in 2002, the year of Art Basel's debut, revenue from the average Miami-Dade hotel room in December surged 79%. For hotels in Miami Beach during the first week of December, the average hotel room rented for 141% more in 2010 than it did during the same time stretch in 2002. Larry Carrino, a Miami restaurant publicist, said Basel's growing profile has [also] transformed the window for getting his clients national attention. He cited recent splashes about Miami in the New York Post and the New York Times that would have seemed out of place in previous decades, when the national press tended to write their Miami stories in the dead of winter. Basel also helped shift how Miami markets itself to vacationers. In 2008, the Visitors Bureau replaced an ad campaign centered around attractive people in skimpy outfits with new images featuring artists under the slogan "Express Yourself."  Basel's success and Miami-Dade's new performing arts center were the main drivers behind the shift, which targeted wealthier travelers. "I think [Basel] legitimized the Miami brand to a global audience in terms of culture,'' Jeff Lehman, general manager of The Betsy, a South Beach hotel that features year-round art installations in its lobby. "That would be very hard to replicate any other way than it has occurred." Added Carrino: "Basel has really done a lot to reposition Miami with media as a cultural destination. We had been a party town for so many years."


Georgia governor: Impact "is far greater" when tourism and arts work together

Official website of Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal, press release, 11/17/11

The Georgia Department of Economic Development has awarded $200,000 in product development grants to 23 tourism entities across the state. Georgia Tourism and the Georgia Council for the Arts, both divisions of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, combined resources to maximize the reach of the 2012 Tourism Product Development grants. "As a result of the partnership....the impact of these grants is far greater," said Gov. Nathan Deal. "The enthusiastic response to these grants gives merit to the fact that the arts and tourism go hand in hand, and when they work together, provide benefits that support the economic vitality of the entire state." The Tourism Product Development grant program was designed to financially support tourism development activities at the local level that sustain and create jobs, and support Georgia's creative economies with an emphasis on local artists and the nonprofit arts industry. 


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Commentary: West End shows should not fear 2012 Olympics' effect on tourism

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 11/28/11

In West End theatre where confidence is all, the news that Andrew Lloyd Webber is considering closing some of his West End shows during the Olympic weeks was like Mary Poppins popping up to announce the death of childhood. Nobody knows for certain what effect the Olympics will have on West End theatre, but it is unlikely to be as bad as the blitz - the only sustained period of closure for West End theatre in living memory. Surely Lloyd Webber can't think a few people running around a track in east London pose as great a threat to theatre as Hitler? There are reasons for the impresario's nervousness. In 2010, the European Tour Operators Association released research suggesting previous Olympic games had a "toxic" impact on overseas visitor numbers. Sydney, Athens and Beijing all wildly overestimated visitor numbers for their games, in part because regular visitors or potential tourists with no interest in sport tend to stay away in Olympic years. It is those regular visitors who keep West End theatre afloat during the summer months. But Olympic visitors may well be enticed into theatres. After all, there are only so many hours you can watch pole vaulting and synchronised swimming. Even if tourists do stay away, there are millions of Londoners either with no interest in sport, or who have failed to get tickets for Olympic events, who would be delighted to see a West End show next summer - particularly if they can get a good deal. Rather than taking the Lloyd Webber approach of running to the air-raid shelter before the sirens have sounded, it would be good to see producers using their entrepreneurial flair not just to ensure the success of their own shows but to secure their sector's future during the Olympics and beyond.


Tourism meets Culture with launch of "Arts Holland, the World's Art District"

Website of Dutch Centre for International Cultural Activities, 11/11/2011

Combining the forces of the cultural, tourism and technological sector, Arts Holland places the Netherlands on the international map as an attractive, cultural destination. For the first time, the international cultural tourist can find the excellent, diverse and qualitative high art and culture that the Netherlands has to offer under the slogan ´Arts Holland, the World´s Art District´.Within the Arts Holland campaign, the Netherlands Uitburo and SICA, together with the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, will develop the Arts Holland Magazine. This English magazine will present a selection of noteworthy cultural events in the Netherlands, international cultural icones and upcoming talent. Furthermore, the magazine will offer background information on the Dutch cultural sector for an international audience of art aficionados and creative professionals. The Arts Holland website is now online. The first edition of the Arts Holland magazine will be published in Spring 2012.


Commentary: Zambia's arts should be part of tourism ministry

Andrew Mulenga, Hole in the Wall blog, 11/28/11

Seasoned critic and Zambian art historian, Roy Kausa, has called on the new government to place support of the arts under the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Tourism rather than the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs: "Look at what happened recently in the previous government. If we (the arts fraternity) had fallen under a serious ministry. I don't think the ministry would have allowed the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) to allow a foreign musician to come and be the face of a relaunch or help rebrand Zambia's tourism slogan," argues Kausa. Early this year, Congolese Rhumba star Fally Ipupa [helped] launch the new ZTB brand under the slogan 'Zambia: Let's Explore', much to the displeasure of local artists. "For years now, the National Arts Council has lost direction; that is why arts bodies have collapsed. I therefore find it prudent that Given Lubinda -- an artist himself -- should take up the arts under his ministry. It would be easier for him to identify which leaders in the arts who can provide a formidable arts council..." Kausa's cry evidently comes from the fact that the Zambian creative fraternity have for a long time felt orphaned as they have been handed over from ministry to ministry since Zambia's independence.

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