Uniting Communities Through Memorable New York City Tours and Events, with Rowena Sahulee

Episode 368

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Rowena Sahulee is a marketing executive with over 20 years in the dual realms of tourism and economic development.

She has worked in marketing functions at organizations such as Circle Line Statue of Liberty Ferry and Harbor Cruises, the first concessionaire to the Statue of Liberty. The Greater Houston Partnership, the main business organization in the Houston, Texas, 10-country region. Choose NJ, the economic development marketing organization for the State of New Jersey.

After Choosing NJ, she started with Empire State Development in the Division of Tourism, I LOVE NY, as the Director of Tourism Marketing, Licensing, and Public Relations for New York State. She worked with their PR agency for journalists to write about the States’ 11 vacation regions. Additionally, she oversaw the multi-million dollar retail licensing program for the I LOVE NY logo and tourism segment marketing programs.

Her next role was with the Long Island City Partnership, the local neighborhood economic development entity in Long Island City, Queens, as their Director of Marketing & Communications.

Today, she has started her own tour operation, Meaningful Experiences, utilizing her expertise to offer NYC experiences, day trips outside of NYC, and overnight getaways to the local market. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Rowena about the importance of serving the locals in your destination, how important relationships are to success, and why protecting the integrity of your brand is so important. Rowena also shares details about her unique business model and how she found a niche not already covered in New York City.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Rowena found a gap in the market for hassle-free trips and meaningful experiences
  • Her vision of creating collaborative initiatives that enhance the community’s connection to New York’s attractions
  • Why Rowena is collaborating with a local talent agency to create a monthly Broadway program
  • Rowena’s vision for future collaborations that enrich the local community
  • The importance of being open to unexpected opportunities, staying adaptable, and remaining open-minded

Embracing Unexpected Opportunities

Rowena and I discuss the importance of being open to opportunities, even unexpected ones. She shares how her career trajectory, spanning the public sector, private sector, and nonprofits, has equipped her with a deep understanding of destination marketing and community engagement. I love that Rowena’s passion for capturing meaningful moments and her dedication to offering unique experiences really shine through in our conversation.

Meaningful Experiences in a Changing Market

Rowena shares more about how she identified a gap in the market for meaningful experiences, especially for families and corporate groups. Drawing from her extensive experience in the travel and tourism sector her company, Meaningful Experiences, brings tours directly to New York communities, aiming to make experiencing the city easier and more enriching. Rowena’s focus on collaboration and shared goals exemplifies her approach to creating impactful local initiatives.

Innovations in Tourism Marketing

On the show, Rowena expresses her excitement about bringing tourism experiences to the local market and discusses her recent collaboration with a friend who owns a talent agency to create a monthly Broadway program. This collaboration illustrates her innovative approach to promoting Broadway and fostering a love for the arts within local communities. Rowena’s vision for future collaborations with other local groups demonstrates her commitment to pioneering amazing and unique experiences that really do enrich the local market.


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