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  1. GANYC Member Mike Kaback on NY1

    GANYC member Mike Kaback is our resident expert on the Garment District. So it was no surprise to see him featured in a new NY1 story about the future of this historic area. Changes in work patterns post-pandemic, as well as a proposed rezoning, has many long-timers discussing the era of change they now find themselves in.

    NY1: Designers, factory workers fight rezoning in Garment District

  2. GANYC Speaks on Need For Double-Decker Bus Safety

    Several GANYC members were interviewed for an article for The Patch, entitled "NYC Double-Decker Buses Are Disaster Waiting To Happen, Guides Say". The piece looks at the recent Top View sightseeing bus crash, and how these companies have sacrificed customer safety and satisfaction for profit. Since these companies largely stopped employing live guides, bad reviews and problems have compounded.

    GANYC continues to advocate for City Council bill Int 1009-2023 , which would mandate a guide on the top of double-decker sightseeing buses, to help facilitate a safe and comfortable experience. We urge NYC residents to reach out to their local council member and urge them to sign on as a bill sponsor.

    Thanks to Matt Troutman, for spotlighting this issue.

  3. What To Look For When Hiring a Tour Guide

    GANYC Public Relations Committtee chair Jeremy Wilcox is featured in the latest issue of Groups Today travel magazine, on 'What To Look For When Hiring a Tour Guide'.

    Hiring a professional guide remains the best bang-for-your-buck, tourism-wise. "You cannot ask a website, a tutorial video, or a guidebook any questions," Wilcox notes.

    And GANYC's vetted membership constitutes the best guides in the city. If planning a NYC trip, make sure to book a guided tour!

  4. Ann McDermott on How to Become a Tour Guide

    GANYC Membership Committee chair Ann McDermott did a virtual presentation for the Historic Districts Council, for their Preservation School series, entitled "How to Become a Tour Guide". It covered everything from the licensing process, to why people want to become a guide, to how to try and make a living from that desire. You can watch it below.

  5. How to Become a New York City Tour Guide

    GANYC Board member Jeremy Wilcox was among the guides interviewed for The City NY's piece "How to Become a New York City Tour Guide".

    The article explores how the NYC government legally defines a tour guide, the licensing and exam process to become a legal guide in the city, what it takes to be a successful guide in a crowded industry, and more.

    Remember: It is essential when hiring a guide in New York to hire a vetted, licensed guide. Another reason to hire a GANYC guide!

  6. Susan Birnbaum Honored at Women in Tourism Awards!

    GANYC member Susan Birnbaum was among those honored at the Women in Tourism Awards, produced by CityGuide. This event was designed to "recognize the accomplishments of female leaders who inspire memorable travel experiences". There were over a dozen categories, ranging from restaurant owners to hotel management to attractions and nightlife. Susan was the honoree in the Tour Guide category.

    We congratulate her, and all the other amazing honorees.

    Video of Susan's acceptance speech is here:

  7. Destination Capitol Hill 2023

    Last month, Destination Capitol Hill was held in Washington DC, sponsored by the US Travel Association. This multi-day event involves educating both travel professionals on how to make their voices heard, and then a full day of meetings with congressional staff on Capitol Hill on issues important to US travel.

    Member Kitt Garrett filed the following report:

    U.S. Travel created four topics for talking points to bring to the attention of our own representatives in Congress to move the U.S. into a more competitive world place in tourism. Attendees’ purpose is to bring individual stories to the representatives describing the importance of these issues on a personal basis and how it affects their own economies.

    Meeting Issues:
    There were four specific asks for our congressional representatives to understand and support legislation and funding which included: 1. Fully Fund the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism, 2. Lower Visitor Visa Wait Times, 3. Provide H-2B Cap Relief, and 4. Advance FAA Reauthorization Priorities.

    Meeting Details:
    Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street in Washington, D.C.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2023
    4:00 PM – 5:30 PM General Meeting Session
    5:30 PM – 7:30 PM cocktail reception at the hotel allowing for networking opportunities.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2023
    7:30 AM Breakfast
    8:00 AM Briefing to review asks and answer questions
    9:15 AM Photo op at the Capitol
    10:30 AM – 5:30 PM NY Team appointments with legislators

    Each state which had sent representatives was assigned to a team. The New York State Team represented Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Ithaca, Long Island, NYC and included a representative from Washington, D.C. to represent the American Gaming Association of Washington, D.C. Matt Baker and Kitt Garrett represented the Guides Association of New York City.

    Kitt spoke about tourism from the DMC perspective of bidding against countries who can accommodate incentive trips because they either have no or less restrictive visa requirements. The net effect is that NYC loses revenue from the airport meet/greet, the signage makers, coach drivers, hotel workers, restaurants, AV/décor, lighting, meeting space, attractions, theater and how it affects NYC’s ambassadors, licensed NYC tourist guides.

    Matt Baker spoke about the student groups he works with reducing their booking time from an average of 6 months down to perhaps a week. The shortened time is a result of both a reaction to a possible health scare and losing their deposits to waiting up to 700 days for their visas to be approved as happens in India.

    Talking Points:
    1. Fully Fund the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism,
    In the FY2024 appropriations for the Commerce Department, set aside $3.5 million to fund the office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism.

    The Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism position within the Department of Commerce was established last year after the passage of the bipartisan Visit America Act. Specifically, the Assistant Secretary will be tasked with developing and implementing a national strategy to expand the travel economy, streamlining government processes affecting both business and leisure travel, and helping U.S. cities and counties compete for large international meetings and events.

    2. Lower Visitor Visa Wait Times
    • SENATE: Please contact Senator Klobuchar’s office to join legislation that would (1) set a 21-day average goal for visa wait times, (2) codify existing authority to waive in-person interviews for lowrisk visa renewals and (3) provide additional resources to consulates with high wait times. • HOUSE: Please work with U.S. Travel Association to draft legislation that would (1) set a 21-day average goal for visa wait times, (2) codify existing authority to waive in-person interviews for lowrisk visa renewals and (3) provide additional resources to consulates with high wait times.

    Of the top 10 markets which want to come to the U.S., the long wait times for visas limits their ability to visit.

    3. Provide H-2b Cap Relief
    • Exempt returning workers from the H-2B cap: Ask House and Senate Appropriators to continue including this provision in funding legislation. • Contact U.S. Travel Association to work on legislation that: • Increases the current cap on H-2B visas from 66,000 to 150,000; and • Establishes a cap exemption formula for employers that previously participated in the program over the past five years and remained in good standing over those years.

    There are currently 1.5 million open jobs in the travel industry. Many of these jobs are part time which Americans who live in these specific locations do not take since they need full time jobs. The part time jobs have been filled by migrants who use the H-2b visa to come to the U.S. to work in agriculture and tourism. By increasing the number of visas, more people can run their businesses more effectively.

    4. Advance FAA Reauthorization Priorities.
    Provide at least $50 million per year for aviation workforce development programs, which would help increase the supply of qualified pilots and mechanics. • Direct the FAA to update their staffing models for air traffic control to account for projected growth in air traffic demand, while also ensuring the agency has enough funding to hire needed air traffic controllers to help prevent delays and cancelations. • Provide at least $4 billion per year in Airport Improvement Program Grants and enable medium and large-hub airports, which have the largest infrastructure needs, to keep more of their grant funding. • Extend the Sustainable Aviation Fuel tax credit through 2032.

    Due to the lack of pilots and mechanics, more and more flights are being cancelled, even though they are fully booked. This means more demand and less supply driving the cost of flights higher and therefore will limit the money guests will spend in the location.

    Soapbox company manages the appointment schedule, the attendee list, provides documents, a map of the Congressional office buildings, Congress Bios & Info, and help with social media through their own website so the information is consistently uploaded as schedule changes occur and can send messages to the attendees in real time.

    Overall, the conference is well worth attending to understand the big picture about the status of the issues regarding tourism in the U.S. Having representatives understand the issues which the attendees face on a day-to-day basis, range from receiving new information to reinforcement of issues which they have heard from multiple organizations and companies who are facing the same issues. GANYC was the only guides association represented, providing new, current, and personal information to the representatives who work directly with the guests rather than through a company executive.

    What will happen next:
    1. The funding for the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism has been set aside, however, the budget discussions are on-going and hopefully, will stay in the budget.
    2. Decreasing wait times for visa applications is a budget issue. Will there be enough money to hire people in the locations who will process the visas, and how long would it take to bring the U.S. technology up to being able to process visas in an hour, which some countries already provide. This applies to student groups, corporate incentive programs, and individuals who wish to come to visit family, attend their own children’s graduations, or just tour the U.S.
    3. The H2-B issue is very controversial and very partisan with Republicans wishing to secure the border before any discussion about lifting the visa numbers.
    4. The FAA desperately needs more pilots and mechanics to run more flights. Hopefully,
    this issue can remain bi-partisan and be funded.

    And member Matthew Baker also attended, and provided the following info at our June meeting:

  8. Happy Book Release Day to Patrick Bringley!

    GANYC member Patrick Bringley gives great tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a building he knows well from his decade as a security guard there. His experience there inspired him to write a new book-- All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me-- which is out today. The book has been getting rave reviews. The New York Times states it "is an empathic chronicle of one museum, the works collected there and the people who keep it running — all recounted by an especially patient observer."

    We decided to round up just some of the best press the book has received:

    Congratulations to Patrick from all of us at GANYC!

  9. GANYC Goes To San Antonio

    Last week, several GANYC members attended the biennial NFTGA (National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) conference, this time held in lovely and historic San Antonio. The guides in San Antonio were excellent and provided some excellent tours, in addition to the conference itself.

    For a summary of the GANYC experience at the conference, you can watch the section from our February membership meeting where it is discussed. We thank Emma Guest-Consales, Jared Goldstein, and Marc Landman for sharing their thoughts.


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GANYC is an association of independent tour guides. Each member is licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. GANYC provides a listing of all member guides to the public. GANYC is not liable, or responsible, for contractual obligations made between clients and tour guides. GANYC stands for Guides Association Of New York City.
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