By Bill Parry
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative awarded $112,500 to the Queens Tourism Council last week.
QTC, a division of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, will use the funding to create “Love the World’s Borough,” a marketing campaign to promote culture, diversity, sports, and food. Each season will have a theme, and QTC will use social media, advertising, and special events to achieve its goals.
“Only in Queens can you dine around the world in 109 square miles, surf in the Rockaways, visit one of New York state’s oldest operating farms and enjoy 7,739 acres of city-owned parkland,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “The REDC award will help Queens tell our story to a larger audience as we continue to welcome visitors from around the world.”
Established in 2100, The REDC initiative is a centerpiece of Cuomo’s strategy to jump-start the economy and create jobs in New York state. Looking to fund community-based, performance-driven entities, the initiative awarded more than $755 million throughout the state in 2017.
“Over the past seven years, the Regional Economic Development Councils have successfully brought together the most innovative minds in economic development, fostering collaboration between state and local leaders to invest in New York’s regional resources from the ground up,” Cuomo said. “These awards are critical to building the foundations of New York’s future and ensuring that our economic momentum continues.”
This is the first time QTC has received REDC funding.
“Tourism in Queens is booming right now, and this is the perfect time to promote the borough,” Queens Economic Development Corporation Executive Seth Bornstein said. “We are excited to let the public know about the wonderful things going on in the world’s most diverse borough, and we are very appreciative of Governor Cuomo, this initiative, and the state elected officials who helped attain funding for this program.”
Tourism pumped $5.3 billion into Queens in 2015, supporting 56,816 jobs and generating $753 million in state and local taxes, according to a 2016 report by graduate students at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at the NYU School of Professional Studies. As a result, one in 16 Queens-based jobs is sustained by tourism, the research found.
“In my experience, people always love Queens. The problem is getting them to the borough in the first place,” Queens Tourism Council Director Rob MacKay said. “With this funding, we will be able to entice more travelers to come here. This is so exciting.”
The REDC initiative also awarded $100,000 to the Long Island City Partnership toward making the neighborhood a regional hub for life sciences and innovation. The partnership will use the funds to develop a comprehensive strategic business plan for the future growth and development of a Life Sciences and Research Innovation cluster in Long Island City.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr