2013-08-28 / Features

Peralta Proposes Initiatives To Expand Borough Tourism


State Senator Jose Peralta—seen here with candidate for Queens borough president Melinda Katz and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik— unveiled a bill that would give each borough a portion of the state hotel occupancy tax it collects to use to promote local tourism. State Senator Jose Peralta—seen here with candidate for Queens borough president Melinda Katz and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik— unveiled a bill that would give each borough a portion of the state hotel occupancy tax it collects to use to promote local tourism. State Senator Jose Peralta unveiled a bill that would give each borough a portion of the state hotel occupancy tax it collects to use to promote local tourism.

The city’s official tourism arm, NYC & Company, promotes travel and tourism opportunities throughout the city and allocates approximately $60,000 to each of the boroughs to promote local nonprofit destinations and activities.

Peralta’s bill would provide each borough four percent of the state hotel occupancy tax revenue it collects, up to a maximum of $300,000, in order to promote local tourism, including at for-profit venues, such as bars and restaurants. Convention and visitors bureaus throughout New York and the United States are typically funded with hotel occupancy tax revenues.

“While NYC & Company deserves great credit for nurturing the tourism boom the city is enjoying, it only makes sense to turn at least some of the responsibility for promoting places to see and things to do outside of Manhattan over to the people who know their home boroughs better than anyone else,” Peralta said. “Highlighting bargains, unearthing gems and underscoring the city’s vibrancy and vitality outside of Manhattan will help boost tourism in all five boroughs.”

Peralta was joined by leaders who support his proposal at a press conference in front of Queens Borough Hall, held less than a week before the start of this year’s US Open tennis tournament. A study of the economic impact of the annual, twoweek tournament held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park found that it grosses more money for the New York City region than the Yankees and Mets combined.

“Senator Peralta’s bill would allow Queens to expand the ways in which we promote our borough’s own premier destinations and attractions,” Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said. “The US Open, a world-class sporting event, is a perfect example of how Queens is shortchanged by the revenue this tournament generates. I support Senator Peralta’s proposed legislation and look forward to working with him and NYC & Company in a combined effort to have visitors ‘Discover Queens and See the World’.”

“You haven’t been to New York City if you haven’t experienced Queens,” former Councilmember and Assemblymember Melinda Katz said. “We have so much to offer in this borough and a world’s worth of diversity to share, but it takes resources to make sure people get that message. With Senator Peralta’s bill, we can take an important step towards promoting Queens to all New York City tourists. I look forward to working with the senator to secure this bill’s passage.”

Peralta said NYC & Company is doing outstanding work in promoting tourism beyond Manhattan and commended the agency for its increased emphasis on nontraditional attractions. He added that the Manhattan-centric emphasis of lists of “Must-See” attractions and “Top 10 Tours” is understandable, “But the fact is, as the most diverse county in the country, perhaps the most diverse area in the world, Queens represents what New York City is really all about.”

He added that funding made available through his bill could be used to support continuous updates and strategic distribution of the This is Queens app, developed by the Queens Chamber of Commerce to provide visitors with information about where to go in Queens, what to do and how to get there. The free mobile phone app was released last month.

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