|John McMahon, executive vice president / group publisher|
Once was, a tourist in New York wouldn’t want to leave Manhattan. There’s so much going on here, so many sites to see, why venture off to a borough that was largely unfamiliar and possibly boring?
That’s all changed dramatically. On a recent jaunt through the Rockaways with friends, I saw many, many visitors walking up and down the boardwalk, checking out this burgeoning neighborhood where somewhat seedy old shops are complemented by fabulous gourmet food stands. The Rockaways have become a hipster haven, and a key attraction for out-of-towners willing to spend about two hours on the A train to get there. Other areas of New York have become hip as well; Brooklyn surpassed that description years ago and is now a mecca for travelers who want to live like a cool urban local. Lonely Planet just named Queens the No. 1 United States tourist destination of 2015, thanks to its huge cultural diversity, ethnic cuisine and just plain fun attractions.
This dynamic is happening all over the world; the traveling consumer who used to play it safe is now seeking to go to neighborhoods with a bit of edge and mystery to them. We see it in London most certainly with Shoreditch, Holborn and Shepherd’s Bush, where restaurants, galleries and hotels are popping up.
We’re not just talking about Millennial travelers when we speak of living like a local. Gen Xers are still pretty young and they want to retain that sense of excitement when traveling, and certainly the Baby Boomers have no fears at all of trying new things.
And so your job gets tougher by the day as you’ve now got to learn even more about the destinations people want to visit. But I say your job, as usual, is also getting more exciting. Who would think new places to visit would be invented, often right in your own backyards?
Be sure to get out there and enjoy, and if you’re in the Rockaways, be sure to check out the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, which is all about great food, surfing and preserving a great local culture. Tell them I sent you.