Courier March Courier - Page 24

CITY SPOTLIGHT: NEW YORK CITY ‘Like no other city’ BY BOB ROUSE “IT’S THE DIVERSITY of experiences that make New York City such an attractive destination for tour operators,” says Nick Calderazzo, owner of Twin Travel Concepts. “No matter what the group makeup is—and no matter how many times they’ve been there—you can still create new, dynamic and exciting programs.” A different type of diversity is a selling point for Pam Upton of Blue Grass Tours. The Lexington, Kentucky-based company takes seven or eight student groups to the Big Apple every year, and it’s always an eye-opening experience. “The culture and the magnitude of the city are so different than what they’re exposed to in Kentucky,” Upton says. “You can walk a block and go from one cultural experience to a totally dif- ferent one. It changes in an instant—like no other city.” The two operators are of the same mind regarding partners in the city. “NYC & Company is always helpful if we have a question about a particular restaurant or the safety of an area,” Upton says. They’re great to work with.” Calderazzo extends that praise even wider. “The tourism com- munity is very open to creating out-of-the-box experiences,” he says. “Contrary to the image of New Yorkers being cold, they are 22 March 2018 amazingly receptive to working with us. That’s another compo- nent that makes this city so wonderful for tours.” Collette’s Jim Edwards describes a 1964 trip to New York City by the company’s then-new owner, Dan Sullivan, as a game- changer for the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based tour operator. “Dan took his family to the New York World’s Fair of 1964, and it proved to be a turning point for the company,” says Edwards, vice president of the century-old company. “He could see that more people than ever wanted to travel, and it was the perfect time to introduce the concept of guided touring.” Collette continues to packages the city—“Our NYC pro- grams are up 27 percent in 2018!” Edwards says—and many of the tours incorporate a powerful piece of history. “At Ellis Island, our guests step back in time to learn the personal stories of the immigration boom of 1892–1924, when 12 million people passed through this station on their journey to America.” Calderazzo holds that a journey to New York City is matchless. “You can walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, enjoy Brooklyn pizza and Coney Island hot dog, take a carriage ride in Central Park, and see a Broadway show all in one day,” he says. “Really, everything is here, and it’s all world-class.” For more information, contact Peter Katz, senior sales manager of NYC & Company, at or visit