Latino Nabes Ready for More Tourists
New York tourists may be seen this year enjoying the popular Colombian dish bandeja paisa in Jackson Heights, taking pictures at The Cloisters in Washington Heights or taking a stroll on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.
The reason is that NYC & Company, the city’s tourism agency, wants to attract tourists to the jewels hidden in New York neighborhoods, many of them Latino.
To that end, the company will launch a new advertisement campaign on March 6 at the International Travel Trade Show Berlin (ITB). The campaign will include showcasing a New York neighborhood each month in cities across the world, highlighting the area’s restaurants, hotels and attractions.
“New Yorkers know that we have the most incredible neighborhoods in the world. Neighborhoods like Fort Greene in Brooklyn, Washington Heights in Manhattan and Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, rich in cultural and artistic diversity,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press release.
Hispanic restaurant owners on Arthur Avenue, also known as Little Italy, welcomed the news.
“If tourists come to visit the neighborhood, it means more customers and a bigger income for us the merchants,” said Cielo Mendoza, of the Mexican restaurant Estrellita Poblana, which has been in business at the famous avenue for seven years.
Guillermo Márquez and Román Casarrubias, owners of M & G restaurant on Arthur Avenue, said the area is visited by tourists on weekends, “but if the number of visitors increases it will mean more business for us and it will improve the economy of the neighborhood because there will be more jobs. ”
The city received a record number of 52 million tourists last year, an increase of 19 percent over 2006, of which 11 million came from abroad.
The city’s plan is to attract 55 million tourists by 2015 and it wants New York neighborhoods to enjoy a slice of an industry that generates $55 billion annually.
Kimberly Spell, spokeswoman for NYC & Company, said that Europeans are not only visiting the city in great numbers but are also returning, therefore Berlin is the “perfect place to launch the campaign.”
“We want repeat visitors to go to places that they haven’t been before. If we don’t show them the ever changing New York, they will head to other destinations,” said Spell. Those neighborhoods not only have a good public transportation system, they also have many things that would attract tourists like restaurants, stores and historic sites, she added.
Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council, said the initiative will help visitors from every corner of the world to discover all the beautiful places “that we have here in the Condado de la Salsa [the borough of salsa].”
“The Bronx has a lot to offer, from art and culture to our diverse cuisine, historical destinations and entertainment for the whole family,” she said.