Tourism Steadily on the Rise in this ‘#1 Destination’

A Message from Queens Chamber of Commerce President Mayra Dirico

Tourism has grown 50% since 2002 with over 20 million additional annual visitors. If you recall, in 2015, Lonely Planet named Queens the #1 destination in the United States. While this may have been a shock to outsiders, Queens natives saw it as a long-awaited validation.

Queens has become, and deserves to be, a significant tourist destination in its own right, not just a doormat for air travelers bound for Manhattan or Brooklyn. For example, according to the city’s tourism and marketing agency, NYC & Company, tourism increased 12% between 2012 and 2013. That is a staggering figure in itself.

Queens has it all. In Flushing Meadows Corona Park, for example, there really is an activity for everyone: the Queens Museum, the Queens Zoo, and the New York Hall of Science. For sports fans, the New York Mets play at Citi Field, and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center hosts the U.S. Open, where attendance has topped 700,000 in seven of the past eight years.

Other attractions have also reported significant growth in the number of visitors, such as the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, where increases in recent years have ranged between 12 and 18 percent. Additionally, P.S. 1, the Museum of Modern Art’s satellite in Long Island City reported a 52 percent increase between fiscal years 2012 and 2014. (Data from NYC & Company)

The borough is currently undergoing a major hotel building boom. A dozen new hotels have opened in the past two years, and there are over 40 hotels in Queens in some stage of planning or construction. Many new boutique hotels, such a Aloft in LIC and LGA, Boro Hotel are popping up, making it much easier for tourists to remain in Queens rather than taking up residence in the other boroughs.

With the most diverse population in any borough in the US, it is undeniable that Queens is poised to maintain its growth as becoming a destination borough!

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