Queens named top destination in 2015 by Lonely Planet

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By Ivan Pereira

Move over Brooklyn, Queens is the city’s go-to spot for tourists in 2015, according to a travel guide publisher.

Lonely Planet, which publishes guides to destinations across the globe, chose the borough as the best place to visit in the U.S. for next year.

Queens beat out the runners-up — including Western South Dakota, New Orleans, and North Conway, New Hampshire — because of its rich diversity and new attractions that fit every traveler’s needs, according to the publication’s editorial board.

“Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria,” it wrote.

Queens leaders, who have been pushing for bigger tourism campaigns that showcase the various neighborhood offerings, and some residents said they are proud their hard work paid of with this major recognition.

Queens leaders, who have been pushing for bigger tourism campaigns that showcase the various neighborhood offerings, and some residents said they are proud their hard work to make the borough great has paid off.

“I feel like Queens is finally getting the recognition it deserves,” said Peter Iorlano, 41, a real estate agent from Long Island City.

Among the borough hot spots that Lonely Planet suggests are Rockaway Beach, MoMA’s PS1 in Long Island City, the smorgasbord of Asian restaurants in Flushing and new breweries and pubs popping up in Astoria.

Regis St. Louis, who contributes to Lonely Planet’s USA guidebooks, said Queens was a diamond in the rough with its famous attractions and now word-of-mouth has made it more popular..

“Increasingly, people are looking for more personal experiences and you can find them in Queens. You get a local flavor that is lacking in a more touristy part of Manhattan,” he said.

Laura Wyant, 34 of Astoria, said she was glad that Lonely Planet recognized her home borough. She felt that other areas in the city receive too much buzz, though she’s seen plenty of people drawn to the diversity Queens has to offer.

“Brooklyn has been in the limelight for long enough. It’s time to let Queens shine!” Wyant said.

The city’s tourism wing NYC & Company launched campaigns over the last 18 months that promote the outer boroughs. Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, said the campaigns have been good at pointing out the bargains tourists can get if they chose to stay in Queens versus Manhattan.

“I have always argued that we have the best hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations, parks, sporting events, and residents in the world and that our prices are very competitive for tourists,” he said in a statement.

St. Louis said the buzz for the borough is just beginning and predicted that more visitors will be putting Queens in the center of their Big Apple travel plans. There will be more incentives for tourists in the future with new restaurants opening in neighborhoods like the Rockaways and Astoria and cultural events like the Emerging Arts Festival in Long Island City.

“Once you get below the surface and see what Queens has, it’s a more exciting,” he said.

With Andrea Tuccillo.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 at 5:53 pm and is filed under amNewYork, Breaking News, Feature, Print Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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