Tax revenue from tourists in NYC up, but overall tourism still down in wake of pandemic, crime

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Tax revenue from tourists in NYC up, but overall tourism still down
Janice Yu has the latest from Times Square.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Tourists in New York City are expected to fuel a record $4.9 billion in tax revenue in the current fiscal year, according to a new report released Friday by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office.

The 16% jump from 2020, has been driven in part by rising prices for hotel rooms and other services.

However, the amount of people visiting the Big Apple is still down from pre-pandemic levels, the report acknowledged.

Last year, the city had more than 62 million tourists, 7% less than in 2019. One of the reasons cited is the delayed return of international tourists who are historically top spenders.

"As we look ahead, the city's ability to attract and draw visitors from overseas will be key for a full recovery for the industry," DiNapoli said. "International visitors account for about 20% of total visitors."

DiNapoli added crime as one of the possible reasons for keeping tourists away. In the report, he called on city and state leaders to focus on making New York a safe place for visitors and their families.

"A lot of people who haven't even been here said watch out for gun crime," said Emily Shires, visiting from the United Kingdom. "We kind of took that with a pinch of salt. That would never put me off going somewhere."

More than 50 million people from the U.S. visited New York last year.

"We love to be in Times Square because it's so bright and colorful," added Kentucky native Marlie Shirley. "And it's just really upbeat and fast-paced."

DiNapoli says recovery will not be complete until the city sees a full return of international and business travelers and more tourism-related jobs are restored.

In 2023, international travelers spent $11 million less than domestic travelers.

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