New York tourism chiefs are hoping to boost visitor numbers from the north of England after signing a reciprocal promotional partnership with Marketing Manchester.

The two-year city-to-city tourism partnership between NYC & Company and Marketing Manchester will see each partner provide $500,000 of marketing assets to the other, including electronic billboard space on roads and public transport networks.

The alliance also includes a partnership with Virgin Atlantic to promote its expanding New York services from Manchester airport, as well as a commitment to sharing and collaborating on marketing strategies.

Fred Dixon, chief executive of NYC & Company, told Travel Weekly: “The idea for the partnership was initially sparked by Manchester airport, and we quickly realised there was a great opportunity to align with a region that is incredibly valuable for us.

“The two cities share a lot of common ground, from diversity and openness to a focus on the arts and sports, and having worked closely with Virgin Atlantic on the Pride Flight (in 2019) this partnership brings us even closer together.”

The UK is the number one overseas source market for New York, with 1.308 million visitors forecast for 2019 and a record 1.346 million predicted to visit during 2020. Although regional source data is not yet available, point-to-point traffic from Manchester makes it New York’s 16th largest source airport in Europe.

Dixon said: “The southeast market is really well-developed for us, so we see this opportunity to target another tremendously important part of the UK as real game-changer.

“Virgin has produced some compelling offers so we have the opportunity to develop Manchester in a similar way, both for leisure travel and the MICE market.”

Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said the partnership between the two “open, diverse and welcome destinations” was “a huge coup and speaks volumes about Manchester’s increasing global profile”.

Meanwhile, Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer of Virgin Atlantic said the partnership would support the airline’s commitment to growth from Manchester, including a 65% increase in winter capacity to New York using a Boeing 747, and the opening of its Clubhouse lounge this spring.

Jarvinen added: “Growing our presence in Manchester is a huge focus for us. We’re committed to offering customers more options than ever before from our home in the north.”

The airline is offering an initial promotional offer of £379 return, based on economy light fares on selected dates in 2020.