Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang has been named the Big Apple's first-ever "cultural tourism ambassador," just in time for the release of his latest album, the aptly titled New York Rhapsody. Lang's new role -- to help attract Chinese tourists to NYC -- was announced outside Steinway Hall in Manhattan on Tuesday (Sept. 20) by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also declared it Lang Lang Day.
Lang has maintained a residence in NYC for the last ten years and said at the ceremony that he hopes to bring his countrymen from China and others from around the world to the city, "to have fun here, to enjoy music, to enjoy the best classical music, the best cultural event, best sports, the best food!"
According to figures from tourism agency NYC & Company, China is poised to overtake Brazil as the second-largest source of foreign visitors to the city, estimated at around 920,00 this year, up from 850,000 in 2015. Only Britain attracts more tourists to America's largest city. Given that Chinese tourism is actually booming, part of NYC's Lang Lang strategy is to remind tourists that there's more to the city than must-sees like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty.