It goes without saying that if you’re a tourist in New York City, chances are your visit will be confined to Manhattan and you won’t think to visit any of the other boroughs. This may soon change, for Brooklyn at least, as the borough is stepping up to challenge the Manhattan-centric tendencies of tourism through an upcoming tourism website named ExploreBK. While Brooklyn already has a tourism website run by the office of the borough president, VisitBrooklyn, the new ExploreBK website is the brainchild of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Hybrid Media, a private Brooklyn-based company. ExploreBK will target visitors to New York unfamiliar with the entertainment and culture that Brooklyn offers through advertising events and activities throughout the borough.
Brooklyn’s Chamber of Commerce President, Carlo Scissura, told Crain’s that the new site will have an internal, all-Brooklyn focus. Scissura noted that the site comes from the idea that “we needed a site that tied the neighborhoods together within the borough that would create a central hub for everyone—tourists and natives alike." The push to promote Brooklyn as a prominent feature of New York worthy of tourism is by no means arbitrary as the borough is home to a plethora of museums, has a booming housing market and is witnessing an unprecedented amount of development in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s no wonder that Brooklyn’s officials are trying to keep the borough’s momentum by promoting itself to tourists.
The new, Brooklyn-specific tourism website denotes a challenge to the existing official city-wide tourism site, NYC & Company. Throughout its existence under the Bloomberg administration, the site has been accused of advertising Manhattan much more heavily than the other boroughs. With the end of Mayor Bloomberg’s term approaching, it can be inferred that the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is subsequently taking the future of its tourism industry into its own hands rather than relying on the next mayor. When questioned by Crain, a NYC & Company spokesman said, "It's wonderful to see more behind Brooklyn's efforts...anything they can do to help us promote tourism in the city is good for everybody." While New York’s official tourism site claims a policy of borough equality, it is clear that Brooklyn thinks otherwise and is fed up with the site.
Although ExploreBK has yet to launch, the initiative by the borough’s Chamber of Commerce conveys that Brooklyn’s officials and businesses are ready to challenge the age-old conception of New York City equating to just Manhattan. With Brooklyn’s recent prosperity and a new website to advertise it, it won’t be long before new waves of visitors make the trek to King’s County.