By Gabriel Rom
For a third consecutive year, state Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey (D-Maspeth), who chairs the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development, has allocated $100,000 of her fiscal 2016 budget to the Queens Tourism Council.
“It gives me great pride to help support the outstanding work of the Queens Tourism Council as it spreads the word about our magnificent borough,” Markey said in a statement.
The funding comes at a time when Queens is shedding its image as a drive-through borough and becoming a destination unto itself. The borough was selected last year by Lonely Planet as the top tourist destination in the country and was recently profiled in The New York Times travel section.
“This funding affirms that Queens is a major destination for visitors,” said Seth Bornstein, president of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
“With our cultural, recreational venues—and our great communities—travelers can experience the ‘real New York City’ in the world’s most diverse county,” he said. “The funding enables us to be proactive in our efforts and partner with the public and private sectors to promote the borough. This is important to our overall economic development efforts as tourism and travel bring in millions of dollars.”
According to the QEDC, the funds will be used to hire support staff for the Queens Tourism Council, maintain daily updates and develop the “It’s in Queens” website and eblasts, work with QTC members to help promote their venues and market Queens at major events.
“[These assets] are a vital part of our local economy that creates jobs, services and increases the tax base,” said Rob MacKay, director of public relations, mareting and tourism for QEDC.
Markey’s involvement with the tourism council goes back decades. In the 1980s, she worked at the Department of Economic Development in the Queens borough president’s office.
“She was dauntless in her pursuit to bring together cultural venues, hotels and restaurants, and slowly interest began to grow,” MacKay said.
Markey first allocated $70,000 to the QTC in 2013. In 2014, the year of the World’s Fair 50th/75th anniversary, she secured $100,000 — half of which was devoted to Queens Tourism Council activity and the other portion to special events marking the World’s Fair anniversaries.
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@