The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced today that the agency, in conjunction with the September 11th Fund, will fund a coordinated large scale tourism and marketing campaign to attract visitors to Chinatown. The campaign will be administered by NYC & Company, the city's official tourism marketing organization, in coordination with the LMDC's Chinatown tourism advisory committee. Asian Women in Business, Dentsu Communications, and M. Silver Associates have been hired to carry out the two-year campaign. LMDC and the September 11th Fund have committed $2 million to the campaign. Governor George E. Pataki said, "This tourism campaign will help boost Chinatown's economic recovery from September 11th. Chinatown is one of New York City's most vibrant neighborhoods and this marketing effort will help ensure that both New Yorkers and visitors are reminded of all that this community has to offer." New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "Chinatown was hit particularly hard by the events of September 11th, and this marketing campaign is just one of the many ways we are working to make Chinatown, with its abundance of historic and cultural amenities, one of New York City's most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. There is a lot going on downtown, and this campaign will inform New Yorkers and visitors from around the world about the global hub of culture, commerce, and history located in the Chinatown area." John C. Whitehead, Chairman of the LMDC said, "Everyone is pitching in and trying to help this most important community of our city rise up from the economic difficulties of the September 11th tragedy. Tourists need to know the way to Chinatown to shop in the broad range of colorful stores and to enjoy some of the most diverse and delicious food in the area's many renowned restaurants, while New Yorkers must be reminded that Chinatown used to be one of their favorite evening and weekend destinations. This new program has every marketing aspect included to be successful in reaching out to these important audiences." Kevin M. Rampe, LMDC President said, "We are pleased to see the Chinatown tourism advisory subcommittee created in order to ensure that the interests of Chinatown are properly reflected in this campaign. Chinatown is a very unique community and with the support of Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, LMDC is proud to partner with the September 11th Fund, NYC & Company and Asian Women in Business to support a campaign that attracts both resident New Yorkers and tourists to Chinatown for its one of a kind shopping, eating and culture." Carol Kellermann, CEO of The September 11th Fund said, "Thousands of people in Chinatown lost their livelihoods after September 11th and the community still hasn't recovered. Along with the employment, health care, and mental health services we've provided to the people of Chinatown, what we think the community needs to rebuild is more visitors. And not just for the dumplings. We want to encourage tourists to start with Dim Sum, and then experience the culture, the terrific markets, and the exotic import stores. Chinatown is a vibrant and exciting part of New York. A visit to Chinatown is an adventure, a glimpse into a different world without leaving Manhattan." The September 11th attacks severely impacted tourism to Lower Manhattan and the subsequent outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia exacerbated Chinatown's economic downturn. Because tourism is a major economic driver in Chinatown, the lack of a comprehensive tourism and marketing campaign threatens the community's economic recovery. Building upon the various post-September 11th studies and reports on conditions in Chinatown and several community outreach initiatives, the LMDC and the September 11th Fund are jointly funding a tourism and marketing campaign that will offer a unique opportunity to implement many of the proposed recommendations in a single, comprehensive, and cohesive initiative. LMDC's existing Chinatown Working Group will create a Chinatown tourism advisory subcommittee to be the vehicle for obtaining direct input and involvement from the community on the direction of the campaign. The Chinatown working group came together in September of 2003 to provide an opportunity for members of the Chinatown community and the LMDC to meet on a regular basis to work together towards a common goal of revitalizing Chinatown and all of Lower Manhattan. The participants of this working group represent a group of diverse stakeholders, including community organizations, elected officials, and residential as well as business and cultural interests in Chinatown. Moreover, the group welcomes individuals or groups who are dedicated and committed to the revitalization of the Chinatown community. The Chinatown tourism advisory subcommittee will ensure that the tourism and marketing campaign reflects the interests of Chinatown. NYC & Company will administer and coordinate the team's efforts. NYC & Company will provide official name recognition to the campaign, a larger outlet through which the campaign can promote its programs, and greater potential for continuation of the tourism initiatives after funding is utilized. Cristyne L. Nicholas, President and CEO of NYC & Company said, "No visit to NYC is complete until you visit Chinatown. Thanks to the LMDC and the September 11th Fund a tourism marketing campaign program for Chinatown will soon help guide millions of visitors to discover the richness of this vibrant neighborhood. Whether to experience the incredible cuisine, visit unique cultural arts centers or shop for exquisite and affordable jewelry, Chinatown has so much to offer." Asian Women in Business will provide direct assistance to Chinatown businesses to prepare for tourism. As an established non-profit organization with a proven record of effectively providing business assistance to the Chinatown community, Asian Women in Business will be an important asset to the campaign in terms of business support services. Bonnie Wong, President of Asian Women in Business (AWIB) said, "AWIB welcomes this opportunity to continue working with small business owners in Chinatown and to take our efforts to an even higher level. Improving tourism, bringing more people to Chinatown to shop and dine, will help business owners who have suffered after 9/11. Obviously, 9/11 affected all of us, without regard to gender, and we, as a business organization, are passionate about working with store owners and doing whatever we can to bring business back to Chinatown. Chinatown small business owners are an important ingredient in the tourism campaign. They need to be an integral part of any program that is designed to bring tourists to Chinatown and their financial success means the community's success in remaining as a vital and healthy partner with the rest of New York City." Team consultants were selected pursuant to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Chinatown tourism and marketing services. A committee, comprised of members of LMDC staff and members of the September 11th Fund, reviewed the submitted proposals. Dentsu Communications has been selected to provide advertising strategy and services as well as overall project management assistance. Dentsu Communications is part of one of the largest communications firms in the world. Dentsu's Telly Wong, the committee's proposed project manager for the campaign, brings a unique combination of personal and professional experiences. Mr. Wong's extensive volunteer activities in Chinatown show a personal affinity to the community, commitment to Chinatown's revitalization, and sensitivity to the diverse and unique needs of the area. Mr. Wong's professional experiences include successfully developing programs for local Chinatown businesses such as Pearl River and major national clients such as Barnes & Noble. M. Silver Associates is a leading public relations and tourism marketing firm. M. Silver Associates has over 30 years of experience in the industry and is the recipient of 246 awards from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International for excellence in tourism campaigns for clients that include national and international governmental entities and private developers. This expertise in public relations, travel, and tourism is strengthened by M. Silver Associates' partnership, formed specifically for this RFP, with Soury Communications, a public relations firm specializing in issue-oriented communications and marketing for over 25 years. The September 11th Fund was established the day of the terrorist attacks by The New York Community Trust and United Way of New York City to meet the immediate and long-term needs of victims, families and communities affected by the tragic events of September 11. The Fund supports organizations and agencies that provide cash assistance, legal counseling, mental health services, job training and placement, and other services for victims, families, and others directly affected. It also makes grants to assist nonprofits and small businesses as they help communities rebuild. The $1 million in funding by is made possible by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.