Streams

Enticing Tourists to a Borough Far, Far Away

Monday, May 09, 2005

The nation's largest travel industry show was in town this week. It was an opportunity for international tour bookers to learn about American destinations.

And as WNYC's Dan Blumberg reports, New York has four destinations that bookers don't know very much about: the boroughs outside Manhattan.

REPORTER: Elskie Dutz works for one of the top travel agencies in the Netherlands. Her firm brings about 20,000 visitors to the United States each year, many of them to New York. She gives her clients Metrocards before they arrive so they can reach museums, the Empire State Building, Harlem, and their other favorite spots. But few leave Manhattan unless they're going to Liberty or Ellis Islands. She says doesn't know where to send people who want to go to the outer boroughs.

DUTZ: Convention and visitors bureaus of that area have to make me aware to do something about because-- I can easily include them, but it's just a matter of, like Philadelphia came to me and said I want you to promote Philadelphia. They have to learn me what's unique. That's the purpose of a show like this.

REPORTER: Of the several dozen New York booths at the Javitz Center, only two were focused on the world outside Manhattan. One was from the group "More NYC" which represents Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens. And for the first time, Brooklyn paid for it very own booth.

REPORTER: Caroline Greer is the director of tourism at the Brooklyn Borough President's office. She says it's important for Brooklyn to fend for itself and not just rely on the city's tourism bureau.

GREER: I come from a family with 13 kids and I know about the fact that you know the more there are; each share can only be so big and if you want more you get up and you get it yourself."

REPORTER: Greer is trying to entice visitors to Brooklyn's artist enclaves, restaurants, the Aquarium, and Coney Island.

REPORTER: Japanese tour booker Masa Magara says his clients want to leave Manhattan, but usually not on their first trip.

MAGARA: The firstcomer to visit only Manhattan, but the 2nd, 3rd, they try to see more things"

REPORTER: There are not figures on what percentage of tourists take trips to the outerboroughs… aside from to the airports. But anecdotally, international tourists are more likely to leave Manhattan because they stay longer than domestic tourists.

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