The New York State Senate passed unanimously today Senator Jose Peralta’s bill that would provide each of New York City’s individual boroughs with additional funding to promote local tourism. The bill (S.2238) would divert 4% of Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue collected within each Borough, up to an annual maximum of $300,000, back to each Borough for the purposes of further tourism development.
The funding would allow each individual borough to promote their own tourism attractions, from famous sites like Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens and The Bronx Zoo, as well as their particular hidden gems. The new revenue can also be destined to promote local for-profit venues, such as coffee shops and restaurants.
Last year, New York City received a record-breaking 59.7 million visitors, which represents a 2.4% increase from the 58.3 million tourists that visited the City in 2014. “This bill will clearly foster the growth and expansion of the City’s tourism industry, a key economic engine. If the proposal becomes law, each borough will be able to further promote their particular destinations as they see fit,” said Senator Peralta.
In each borough, the new revenue stream will flow directly to a tourism council or similar non-profit development organization designated by the borough president, to then be approved by the Economic Development Corporation for the promotion of local attractions and restaurants.
“Capturing this portion of the hotel occupancy tax will allow us to keep our tourism boom in a sustainable fashion,” Senator Peralta said. “When domestic and international visitors think about New York, the Empire State and Central Park come to mind. However, it is vital that places like Jackson Heights, Astoria and Flushing Meadows Corona Park are also on the radar of tourists. All our boroughs are worth visiting, each for its own rich and unique characteristics.”
Assemblymember Luis Sepúlveda (D-Bronx) is the sponsor of the bill in the Assembly (A.6960).