A New York City Council committee is meeting Thursday to brainstorm ways to address the suspected impact of Donald Trump’s presidency on tourism.
Tax and business losses related to a drop in foreign visitors will be the focus of a Committee on Economic Development hearing at City Hall, according to the office of committee chairman Councilman Dan Garodnick.
It’s the first decline in tourism since around the time of the recession, officials said.
“The numbers speak for themselves, and they are jarring: whether it’s people who are declining to do business travel or tourists who are making other plans, this hits New York City particularly hard,” said Garodnick (D-Manhattan).
“When you start putting up walls, it sends the message that people from around the world are not welcome, and that hurts a global city like New York,” he said.
Garodnick’s office cited figures from the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Company, projecting a net loss of about 700,000 foreign visitors for 2017.
Before Trump took office, the agency expected an increase of 400,000 foreign visitors over the 12.65 million in 2016. Now the agency is projecting a decline of about 300,000 this year.
The average foreign tourist spends about $2,000 per trip, which translates to about $1.4 billion less in spending by foreign tourists than expected. The loss means $84 million in tax revenue, according to officials’ calculations.
Garodnick said he’s worried that visitor-reliant businesses, such as hospitality, entertainment and tourism, are certain to be hard hit.
“I want to identify which industries are particularly hurt,” he said in an interview, adding: “We want to explore impacts upon taxes and jobs for New Yorkers.”
Garodnick said he hopes prospective tourists aren’t discouraged by the country’s political climate.
“Put aside what you’re hearing from our federal government,” he said. “New York welcomes you. We want you.”