Queens Top U.S. Tourism Destination: Lonely Planet’s Annual Survey

Acclaimed as a Melting Pot with Great Restaurants, Art, Beaches

NEW YORK (TIP): Next stop…Queens! The world’s most diverse county was selected as the best tourism destination in the United States for 2015 by Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel media company on December 10. Queens drew praise for its exploding eating and drinking scene (including the four microbreweries that opened over the last 18 months), amazing diversity, high-quality hotels, exciting events, and unique, enchanting neighborhoods, such as art-filled Long Island City and surfboard-friendly Rockaway. “Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens.

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,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival (conceptionevents.com) in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block arts district (kaufmanartsdistrict.org).

If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway. Don’t miss the prime eating and drinking scene that has popped up around the boardwalk – this is no cruddy carnival food: think succulent fish tacos, woodfired pizzas, and wine bars.” Borough President Melinda Katz has made tourism a priority of her administration since she took office last year, launching a marketing plan aimed at increasing visitation. “The World’s Borough” is her slogan, and it’s emblazoned on road signs at major thoroughfares entering the borough. “Queens is hot and on the move, and we’re thrilled by the growing attention and interest that the rest of the world has in its borough,” Queens Borough President Katz said.

“This is a top destination of choice for people from around the globe to live, work and play. Our neighborhoods are home to families that hail from over 120 countries and speak over 135 languages, so our diversity is a natural and tremendous asset to the international capital of the world. You haven’t really seen New York City unless you have experienced Queens. Welcome!” Western South Dakota came in second on Lonely Planet’s list.

The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA). “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. For example, hotels stays are roughly $150 cheaper a night than they are in Manhattan,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.

“It’s simply wonderful that Lonely Planet agrees, and our hospitality industry is waiting with open arms for all visitors. Come, you’ll like it.” “I have the distinct pleasure of working with many people in the hospitality and tourism industries in Queens, and they definitely deserve this honor. They are professional, competent, creative, hard-working, and eager to provide the best services possible,” stated Queens Tourism Council Director Rob MacKay. “This honor is also a testament to Margaret Markey, who had the vision to found the Queens Tourism Council years ago when she worked for the borough president. She’s now an assemblywoman, and she continues to tirelessly promote the borough.”

The annual top 10 destinations list is determined by Lonely Planet’s authors and editorial team to help travelers add to their wish lists for the coming year. Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has the biggest market share for guidebook sales in the world, having published more than 130 million guidebooks in its history. The media company also operates an award-winning website and a suite of mobile and digital travel products.

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