February 28, 2017
Megaprojects, Javits expansion will keep NYC competitive
Other U.S. cities are making major pushes for the tourists our economy relies on

With New York’s safer streets, dynamic cultural institutions and rapidly changing neighborhoods like Hudson Yards, more people want to visit the city than ever before. From Rockefeller Center to the Rockaways, more than 60 million tourists came last year, fueling a surge in new hotels across the five boroughs. Our robust tourism industry has reached record levels of activity, and that means a stronger economy and more jobs for New Yorkers.

But despite this success, our competition is not giving up. Major destination cities across the United States, such as Las Vegas and Orlando, are reinvesting in their infrastructure, launching national marketing strategies and offering discount packages that may affect us. We must continue to develop ways to build upon our progress in the years ahead.

New York state’s $100 billion infrastructure plan is a step in the right direction. Revitalizing key transportation hubs such as Penn Station and LaGuardia Airport will attract new generations of tourists, and the efforts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team to launch these megaprojects should be commended. Creating a world-class, state-of-the-art city through enhanced transportation routes and stations is critical to sustaining our economic growth—as a city and an industry.

With 111,000 rooms citywide, hotels play an essential role in supporting New York’s economy and shaping the experiences of out-of-town visitors who want to explore—and re-explore—the greatest city in the world. Last year, hotel and sales taxes from tourism were expected to contribute $1 billion to the economy, according to NYC & Company.

One project that will certainly maintain that success is the expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side. With the construction of more meeting room and exhibition space, a 55,000-square-foot ballroom and a rooftop terrace accommodating up to 1,500 guests, the expansion project will position this facility as one of the most desired event spaces of any building in the country. As a result, more high-profile events and business-focused conventions will now consider New York as a potential destination. The more events New York can host in the years ahead, the more hotel rooms will be needed and the more jobs will be created.

Since it opened in 1986, the Javits Center has served the tourism industry well by hosting the state’s largest events, attracting nearly 40,000 exhibiting companies and more than 2 million people each year. With a new subway station at West 34th Street, a recent renovation and a new neighborhood rising outside its doors, an expanded Javits will certainly provide a boost to the hotel community and other businesses like never before.

Let the construction begin.