Tourists spent more than $5 billion in Queens last year: Study

Tourists spent more than $5 billion in Queens last year: Study
Photo by Beth J. Harpaz/AP
By Bill Parry

New York City will welcome an all-time record of 60.3 million visitors by year’s end, surpassing the 60 million mark for the first time ever, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. He said travel and tourism now sustain more than 375,000 jobs in the city, representing a gain of more than 15,000 jobs over last year.

“More tourism means we have more people investing in New York City and are able to create more sustainable jobs for more people,” de Blasio said.

Meanwhile, a new study released last Friday shows that tourism is booming in Queens, bringing $5.3 billion to the borough in 2015, supporting 56,816 jobs and generating nearly $753 million in state and local taxes. Due directly to this activity, one in 16 of all jobs is Queens is sustained by tourism.

The results of the three-month study from the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at the NYU School of Professional Studies show the transportation sector garnered the lion’s share of the largess with nearly 40 percent, or more than $2.2 billion, a number driven by the borough’s 78 taxi companies. The research shows Queens has 111 hotels, 4,032 restaurants and 27 shopping centers.

Tourists are drawn to more than 100 cultural, athletic, and recreational attractions and five beaches in Queens.

“Anybody with their eyes open can know the whole world is coming to the borough,” said Rob MacKay, Queens Economic Development Corporation director of marketing and tourism. “They come here once, they love it and want to come back and they tell their friends about it. As a moment in time, Queens has never experienced tourism like this.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.