In 2004, when the Brooklyn Tourism Visitors Center, located on the ground floor of Brooklyn Borough Hall above the subway hub, opened, it was the first visitors center to open outside of Manhattan. On Monday the center celebrated five years of growth and success in welcoming some 50,000 visitors to Brooklyn.
“I always say Brooklyn is ‘Proud Home to Everyone from Everywhere,’ but we’ve truly taken on a new role—‘Proud Host to Everyone From Everywhere,’ said Borough President Marty Markowitz during an event at Borough Hall. “It’s our job to make sure visitors keep coming, staying in our hotels, dining at our restaurants and falling in love with Brooklyn (and if they want to take a day trip into Manhattan, that’s okay!).”
Since 2002, when Harvard professor Michael Porter’s study, “Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn,” identified tourism as one of the borough’s four major economic growth clusters, Markowitz and his office have made tourism an economic development priority.
In that time, they have commissioned the blueprint Marketing Brooklyn to Brooklyn and Brooklyn to the World; formed the Brooklyn Tourism Advisory Board to advise and inform the development of the tourism industry in Brooklyn; provided support though capital funding (Weeksville Heritage Center, BAM, and many other projects), leadership, partnership, and advocacy.
“Destination Brooklyn” events include the annual and expanding Dine In Brooklyn Restaurant Week, the internationally prestigious Brooklyn Book Festival, the new smART Brooklyn Art Gallery Hop, and the Shop Brooklyn retail outreach campaign.
Monday’s luncheon honoring the Visitors Center’s dedicated trained volunteers was followed by a press event announcing some recent successes and new initiatives for 2009:
• Brooklyn Hotels Committee: Leaders of Brooklyn’s hotel community are now working together through the Brooklyn Tourism Hotels Committee to attract conventions and conferences.
• Shop Brooklyn “Boutique Fashion Nights”: Brooklyn Tourism is working with the website wunderbloc.com to present Shop Brooklyn Boutique Fashion Nights this summer in various shopping districts across the borough.
• New Brooklyn Passes and Tours: Brooklyn Tourism worked with Smart Destinations and Leisure Pass North America to add Brooklyn locations to their NYC Explorer Pass and New York City Pass products.
• Brooklyn Map: Brooklyn Tourism, through a meeting at World Travel Mart, worked with NY Tab on new 50,000 tear-sheet Brooklyn maps printed with top tourist sites for use by concierges and cultural institutions to help visitors get oriented and expand their scope.
The Brooklyn Tourism Visitors Center is open five days a week, 10a.m. to 6 p.m., and is staffed with trained volunteers.
Pictured is Borough President Marty Markowitz (center, front row) visiting Brooklyn Tourism Visitors Center with (left to right) Ellen Salpeter, executive director, Heart of Brooklyn; Carlo Scissura, chief of staff, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office; Cynthia Reich, deputy director, New York Aquarium; Deputy Borough President Yvonne Graham; Michael Burke, executive director, policy and strategic planning, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership; Gary Marmer, sales manager, New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge; Jean Alexander, director, marketing and public relations, West Indian-American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA); Travis Noyes, chief operating officer, Harbor Experience Companies; Lysandra Gibbs, marketing manager, Brooklyn Brewery; Fred Dixon, senior vice president, tourism and convention development, NYC & Co.; and Carolyn Greer, director, public events and special projects, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office. (Photo by Kathryn Kirk)