City tourism plan to highlight Queens sites

By Eric Jankiewicz

New York City’s official marketing and tourism company is turning up the Queens glamor, riding the wave of attention the borough received after Lonely Planet named it the best place to visit in America.

NYC & Company, a nonprofit marketing firm, is contracted with the city’s tourism industry. Standing in the sunlit Queens Museum, the company’s president and CEO, Fred Dixon, announced a new initiative called Tourism Ready aimed at transforming the borough’s image from an airport stopping point to an enticing destination.

“Queens is the world’s borough and the world is catching on after Lonely Planet named the borough,” said Marty Markowitz, former Brooklyn borough president. “To really get a flavor of this town you’ve got to visit Queens.

Markowitz’s success in branding and leading a tourism spike in Brooklyn inspired the marketing firm to try out a similar strategy in the city’s biggest borough geographically.. The former borough president now works for the marketing firm as vice president of borough engagement and promotion.

And together with the firm, Markowitz is leading an effort to get tourists to be more aware of Queens’ attractions and cheaper hotel rates. The firm is responsible for advertising city tourism throughout the world and part of its new effort will include highlighting attractions in Queens like the US Open tennis stadium, the World’s Fair globe and the vast wealth of diverse restaurants.

The borough will also soon be spotlighted in the international campaign NYCGO Insider Guides, which are a series of short videos that introduce viewers to personalities and areas. As part of the marketing firm’s global reach, it promoted Flushing, Rockaway, Jamaica Bay and Astoria around the world as must-visit neighborhoods. The company also hopes to gain international press attention by taking reporters on tour through Queens’ neighborhoods.

In order to prepare businesses for the tourism crush, small businesses like restaurants will have the opportunity to be guided through a process to help them appeal to visitors and general management tips for serving larger crowds.

During the announcement, Borough President Melinda Katz also spoke and said that like Markowitz, she wanted to usher in a change for her borough.

“A lot of people say I’m the new Marty,” Katz said. “We need to make sure that when people go to Manhattan, they come back to Queens.”

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewicz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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