This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, December 31, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: As New Year's sweeps around the globe, many Americans focus on the crossroads of the world, Times Square right here in the heart of New York City. And while you wouldn't know it from the budget crisis, Cristyne Nicholas says that New York City has more people enjoying and spending money in the Big Apple. And Ms. Nicholas is the president and CEO of NYC & Company. And she is the woman to know.
Cristyne, it's turned out to be a pretty good holiday season for New York City; right?
CRISTYNE NICHOLAS, PRES. & CEO, NYC & CO.: It has. And we weren't quite sure it would be because it is a shortened season, fewer days between Thanksgiving and New Year's but people are coming in droves to New York City and that really means a lot considering it is a $25 billion industry for New York. It supports about 300,000 jobs. So, you know, if we are going to make or break tourism, now is time we that we're going to be able to do it.
KEENAN: How are the numbers stacking up compared to last year which of course was a subdued holiday season here?
NICHOLAS: Well, I mean, it's a totally different year. And, we are back up to the hotel occupancy of about 85 percent. Now we haven't passed 80 percent in hotel occupancy since about October of 2000. So even before September 11 you started to see the decline. We are back up, but part of that is driven by price. The average daily rate for hotels, it's down from about $240 in 2000 to about $180 now, so it is a bargain. It is a consumer's market. But that is what's driving people back into the city.
KEENAN: And I know this time last year when I talked to several hotel executives, they were just pulling out the stops on all sorts of deals, they are still those kinds of great deals out there?
NICHOLAS: And you are going to get even better deals in January and February. In fact, we have a deal called "Paint the Town." You get a hotel, dinner, attraction or Broadway show starting at $105 per person per night. Last year we had the same deal starting at $160. So it gives you an idea of how affordable New York City is.
KEENAN: Yeah. A big difference. What I sense from just walking around this area, in Midtown, is that there are a lot of American tourists, their families and their extended families here for the holidays, I don't seem to notice as many Europeans in years gone past.
NICHOLAS: You're absolutely right. And also missing is the Japanese.
NICHOLAS: So we have more domestic visitors and a lot of first-time visitors, people from the heartland of this country that after 9/11 they wanted to do something positive. They wanted to be patriotic so they decided to come New York City. That is great. We need those international visitors back, though. They spend about five times more.
KEENAN: They spend more money, I bet.
NICHOLAS: Yeah. Believe me, we love.
KEENAN: Especially those Japanese.
NICHOLAS: And they stay longer too. They stay about five nights compared to two nights that the Americans stay.
KEENAN: All right. But still good news.
NICHOLAS: Still very good news. Very optimistic for 2003, and, looking forward to welcoming everyone. They should make New Year's resolution to come to New York City and we will make it happen.
KEENAN: They definitely won't regret it. OK. Thanks, Cristyne.
NICHOLAS: Thank you.
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