Before being appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to run New York City’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization in early 2006, George Fertitta was founder and CEO of a New York–based $500 million marketing and advertising agency. For over 30 years, Fertitta built a prestigious and diverse group of clientele, including: AT&T, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola Company, Cunard Line Ltd., Goldman Sachs, the McGraw-Hill Companies; Mitsubishi, NFL, Radisson, UBS and more.
Following the sale of his company and given his accomplished marketing and brand development background, Fertitta was recruited by Mayor Bloomberg to create the new NYC & Company, with a mandate to welcome 50 million visitors to the five boroughs by 2015. Under Fertitta’s watch, NYC & Company quickly expanded to become a fully integrated marketing organization that today operates as the City’s advertising, tourism, convention sales, partnerships and licensing arm.
Upon assuming his new role, Fertitta immediately focused marketing and development efforts to increase NYC & Company’s international presence. Over the course of the past six years, NYC & Company opened 11 new representative offices—investing in emerging markets like China, Brazil and South Korea—to create a network of 18 offices serving 25 countries worldwide. The increased global representation helped grow the City’s market share of international travel to the United States from 28% to over 33%, generating an additional $3 billion in economic impact annually. In fact, during this time New York City’s tourism sector jumped from the fifth-largest to the third-largest industry, employing 330,000 workers and reaching Mayor Bloomberg’s goal of 50 million visitors in 2011—four years ahead of schedule.
Additionally, Fertitta made substantial investments in new media and emerging web 2.0 technology in order to reach and engage a wider audience. In 2009 NYC & Company launched nycgo.com, the City’s official tourism website, which ultimately won two internationally acclaimed Webby Awards for Best Tourism Website. Additionally, Fertitta oversaw the launch of NYC & Company’s international social media expansion efforts, including more than 20 micro-sites tailored to consumers, media and tourism stakeholders—making New York City an industry leader among other destinations.
To date, Fertitta has forged a number of multimillion-dollar, high-profile public–private partnerships with companies such as American Airlines, American Express, AT&T, Google, JetBlue, Red Bull and Travelocity. He has also established city-to-city partnerships with London, Seoul, Madrid and São Paulo—encouraging cross-promotion and the sharing of best practices between destinations.
In addition to his position as CEO of NYC & Company, Fertitta also represents New York City’s five boroughs as a member of the U.S. Travel Association Executive Committee and co-chair of the USTA International Advisory Board. He also represents New York City as vice-chair of marketing for Brand USA, the country’s first-ever travel and tourism promotional board.