Love thy neighbourhood

By | Category: Travel rumblings

St Pancras Hotel in Euston Road, London

For a while now, New York’s tourism organisation has been promoting not itself, not its five well- known boroughs but smaller areas within the city. This is quite adventurous because the promotion highlights places 99.9% of us wouldn’t have heard of or even have considered visiting.

But it does make a change from singing the praises of well-established landmarks.

At the moment they are promoting two streets in the Bronx, Arthur Avenue and Fordham Road, which, they say, is home to some of New York’s cultural attractions such as the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Gardens and Edgar Allan Poe’s cottage. It’s also got quite an Italian “foodie” reputation but then, hasn’t all of New York?

I am all in favour of highlighting these less known areas or even of pointing out that there is more to see in a place than just one thing. But why don’t we do more of this over here?

In London apart from the Oxford Street Association that tends to publicise the shopping as does Edinburgh with Princes Street how many campaigns have you seen urging you to visit a small area composed of different attractions?

Has London, for example ever promoted the Euston Road as a tourist draw? Here there is Madame Tussaud’s, the planetarium, the haunts of Sherlock Homes and the architecture of St Pancras Hotel. You have the crescent of houses by Great Portland Street tube station that rival any similar architectural offering and restaurants and pubs to act as stopping points when you want a break. Stratford-upon-Avon promotes Shakespeare links but doesn’t promote the Avon and the buildings near it unless it is linked overall with the town.

The same question could be asked of Glasgow about Sauchiehall Street, Tunbridge Well’s Pantiles, Bristol’s Redcliffe area or Cardiff’s Cathays? Will Leeds ever think of promoting the canal area in a stand-alone campaign or would Gloucester just promote the Quay’s?
I am sure some of our largest cities have highlighted particular areas (Dublin’s Temple Bar for example and Liverpool’s Mersey frontage) but in campaigns fronted by just an area rather than one building?

New York has shown a new approach. Others should follow

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