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NYC & Company and Tourism Cares welcome 10th anniversary of largest tourism industry volunteer event to New York City

NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, today welcomed Tourism Cares, the nation’s largest tourism industry volunteer group, to the City for the group’s 10th Anniversary give-back event, Tourism Cares for America, May 30-31. Today, 600 tourism industry volunteers will descend on Brooklyn and Queens in a daylong beautification effort at Coney Island—one of America’s most famous beachside amusement areas—and Fort Tilden—a former military base on the Rockaway Peninsula known for its pristine beaches and trails—a decade following the group’s inaugural volunteer event on Ellis Island.

NYC & Company and Tourism Cares are joining with the National Parks Service, NYC Service, the NYC Parks Department, the Coney Island Alliance and the New York Aquarium to coordinate 6,000 hours of volunteer work designed to enhance efforts already undertaken by the City and the federal government, and preserve two important NYC tourist attractions for years to come.

Today, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta will present a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to Tourism Cares Executive Director Bruce Beckham, declaring May 30-31 “Tourism Cares for New York City Days” in the City of New York. Fertitta and Beckham will be joined by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Queens Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik and NYC & Company Executive Vice President Fred Dixon at an opening ceremony for volunteers at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

“We are pleased to welcome volunteers from around the nation to New York City for the 10th Anniversary of Tourism Cares for America’s give-back project. Coney Island—America’s Playground—and Fort Tilden in Jamaica Bay are two important and historically significant attractions in our City, and we can’t think of a more fitting way than this week’s volunteer effort to beautify and preserve these sites for the enjoyment of future generations of visitors,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta.

Projects Tourism Cares’ volunteers will complete today include: painting of lamp posts and water fountains along the Coney Island Boardwalk; refurbishing Coney Island’s Nautilus and Brighton playgrounds; mural painting near the new Steeplechase Plaza; fence painting, clean-up and planting at the New York Aquarium; and general beach cleaning at Coney Island. At Fort Tilden—part of the Gateway National Recreation Area—volunteers will install new dune fencing along one mile (6,000 feet) of beach and at Riis Landing; paint two historic batteries at the site; and complete beach cleaning. The 600 travel industry volunteer workers will be split evenly between Coney Island and Fort Tilden, and will collectively complete approximately 6,000 hours of work.

“Tourism Cares is thrilled to return to New York City in celebration of our 10th Anniversary and to help our partners here continue efforts to restore Coney Island and Jamaica Bay, two of the area’s most beloved sites by tourists and locals, in the largest travel industry volunteer program ever,” said Bruce Beckham, Executive Director, Tourism Cares. “Over the last 10 years, Tourism Cares has been proud to bring together travel industry leaders who have volunteered, many of whom have been ‘repeaters,’ to truly make a difference at historic sites around our nation by remembering, restoring and showing the world that tourism truly cares and always will.”

“Bravo to NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, to Tourism Cares Executive Director Bruce Beckham, and to the 600 volunteers dedicating their time and effort throughout the city and especially in Coney Island. The hard work of the community and the commitment of dedicated volunteers have been vital in helping to bring about Brooklyn’s Renaissance and to restoring Coney Island to its status as America’s Playground. Today, NYC & Company, Tourism Cares and each and every volunteer are doing Brooklyn’s motto, ‘In unity there is strength,’ proud!,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

“On behalf of the 2.2 million residents of Queens County, I would like to thank NYC & Company for their leadership and coordination with Tourism Cares by providing the people power to assist in the rejuvenation of Fort Tilden. As part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, it is a walker’s and bird watcher’s paradise as well as a home for cultural and sporting events throughout the year. Thank you again for helping to put the shine on this beautiful natural jewel,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.

“NYC Service is honored to be partnering with NYC & Company and Tourism Cares to engage volunteers in a day celebrating tourism and the important role volunteers have in restoring areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. The impact of this day will be felt by the surrounding community for years to come and could not be accomplished without the support of such dedicated volunteers,” said NYC Service Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford.

“We appreciate the partnership of NYC & Company and Tourism Cares to organize today’s volunteer event in New York City. Helping beautify our beaches and playgrounds will ensure that visitors and residents have an opportunity to enjoy the many recreational opportunities our City has to offer. We thank all the volunteers from the nation’s tourism industry for being in NYC this week to give back in such a meaningful way to our community,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White.

During the Tourism Cares for America event, volunteers were invited last evening to an opening reception in Lower Manhattan aboard the ZEPHYR, a one-of-a-kind luxury yacht and cruise past the original restoration site, Ellis Island. Attendees will also attend a closing BBQ event this afternoon at Luna Park following the volunteer activities.

Tourism Cares for America’s major event sponsors include Academy Bus, American Express, Aon Affinity/Berekly Travel, AAA Travel,, Cvent, Celebrity Cruises, Delta Air Lines, Entertainment Cruises, Golden Touch, Gray Line New York Sightseeing, Halo Promotional Products, Luna Park, MaCher, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), New York Aquarium, NYC & Company, New York Water Taxi/Circle Line Downtown, Questex, Rome McGuigan, SuperShuttle, Travel Leaders Group and Wyndham Hotel Group.

On May 24, at an event in Coney Island, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White reopened all 14 miles of New York City’s beaches for the 2013 season. These beaches – Coney Island/Brighton and Manhattan Beaches in Brooklyn; Rockaway Beach in Queens; Orchard Beach in the Bronx; and Midland, Wolfe’s Pond, Cedar Grove and South Beaches in Staten Island – were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy and underwent a $270 million-plus restoration to open them this summer, creating new access, making them more resilient and better protected. More than 20 million people are expected to visit New York City beaches this summer.

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