NYC aims to boost travel to all five boroughs

The Brooklyn Bridge is viewed from the shore

The Brooklyn Bridge is viewed from the shore at a park in Brooklyn. (Credit: Getty Images)

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More than 50 million people traveled to get a taste of the Big Apple in 2012 and this year, and the city wants to spread the tourist love to all five boroughs.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC & Company, the city's tourism wing, laid out plans to attract 55 million visitors and bring in $70 billion in economic impact by 2015 during the company's annual meeting yesterday with tourism and leisure companies.

The mayor, who had a special introduction from one of the city's celebrity tourism promoters, Muppets character Miss Piggy, said the best way to meet the target would be to think outside the box, or more specifically outside Manhattan.

"New Yorkers know that some of the best neighborhoods, like Fort Greene in Brooklyn or Forest Hills in Queens . . . are rich in culture," he said.

Bloomberg touted his plan to legalize and create for-profit hostels to attract younger international visitors on a budget. He also said NYC & Company would promote some of the outer boroughs' attractions.

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel said additions such as the Staten Island Ferris wheel and the full High Line on the West Side will spark interest in Gotham. "When a new attraction like the High Line opens up, it not only attracts visitors, it improves the neighborhood," he said.

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