New York City and the state stand to lose $120 million in tax money from an expected dip in foreign tourism blamed on President Trump, officials said Thursday.
The city’s tourism agency predicted earlier this year that the number of international visitors would drop by 300,000 in 2017, the first slump in seven years — reversing a previous projection that the number would grow by 3%.
That will mean $120 million less in tax revenue for the city and state, NYC & Company vice president Donna Keren said at a City Council hearing probing the economic impact of Trump policies like the attempted travel ban on seven mostly-Muslim nations and a ban on laptops on flights from certain locations.
The dip will translate into $600 million less spending in the city — and since the agency had previously projected an increase of 400,000 foreign travelers, spending could be $1.4 billion less than once expected.
“New travel restrictions — including bans, limited or reduced access to visas, and ‘extreme vetting’ — will limit the number of people who are permitted to enter our country,” she said.
“If the United States is perceived as hostile, or if visitors lose confidence with our entry process or are unfairly denied entry, they will choose to spend their money visiting and exploring destinations in other countries that are easier to enter, welcoming, and inclusive. Important travel destinations like NYC would suffer disproportionately.”
International visitors are just 20% of tourists hitting the city, but account for more than half of spending — since they spend an average of $2,000 each while here, stay longer, and visit more neighborhoods in the five boroughs. The city expects an increase in lower-spending domestic tourists this year.
Keren said tracking firms are able to look at how often potential visitors search for tourist sites in the city or look at plane tickets, leading to the reversal.
Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven countries in the Middle East and Africa, which has been blocked by the courts.
“But the damage was done,” said Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), chair of the economic development committee. “We will see less economic activity. And we will suffer the losses in taxes and jobs.”
He noted the CEOs of several Middle Eastern airlines impacted by a ban issued in March on carrying large electronic devices on flights from 10 airports have already reported measurable drops in bookings to the United States. Emirates Airline announced Wednesday it was reducing flights to five American cities because of weakened demand, though New York was not one of them.
Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) disputed the idea of the Trump tourism slump, noting hotel occupancy rates nationwide are up for the first quarter of this year.
“It’s unclear what empirical data they’re resting on, other than rhetoric on both sides and feelings,” he said.
“If the U.S. dollar rises with respect to the Euro or the pound, you’ll see less tourists” he predicted. “If that doesn’t happen, you won’t see a drop in tourists.”
But Greeley Koch, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said in a survey the group conducted 39% of companies expected to reduce business travel after the travel ban.
“Business travelers abhor uncertainty. When travelers are uncertain about the viability of a trip, it gets postponed. That means postponing the hotel stay, the dining, the surface transportation charges, the shopping,” he said.
- donald trump
- donald trump first 100 days
- taxes and spending
- muslim ban
- dan garodnick
- city council
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