New Report Details Growing Impact of Tourists on Brooklyn’s Economy
Photo credit: CityRover Walks

Brooklyn added 1,300 hotel jobs since 2000—nearly as many as Queens, Bronx and Staten Island combined

Photo credit: CityRover Walks

A new report released on Monday by the Center for an Urban Future presents a record increase in tourism to New York City over the past two decades which has spurred thousands of jobs in Brooklyn and benefited thousands of Brooklyn residents who work in tourism jobs elsewhere in the city.

The study, funded by the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) and Times Square Alliance, shows that Brooklyn has experienced a 198 percent increase and has added 1,294 hotel jobs since 2000—the most jobs of any borough after Manhattan. Meanwhile, nearly 11,000 Brooklyn residents work at hotels throughout the city, second only behind Queens with 14,750 residents.

According to the report, the tourism boom has led to exponential job growth at the city’s cultural attractions, restaurants and bars, and retail shops. In Brooklyn, the number of people working at performing arts companies nearly tripled, from 515 in 2002 to 1,508. The borough has also seen an increase of 28,171 jobs in restaurants and bars, a 174 percent increase, and 22,252 retail jobs, a 42 percent increase. Tourists have given local retailers a key source of revenue at a time when many brick-and-mortar storefronts are losing business to online purchases.

The increase in tourism is also positively affecting Brooklyn’s cultural institutions. The study finds that 12 percent of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s ticket buyers and 19 percent of visitors to the Brooklyn Museum live outside New York City. And also smaller venues and festivals have benefitted from tourism. For instance, tourists make up 40 percent of ticket buyers to Brooklyn’s Afropunk festival, which attracted 70,000 attendees last year.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of how the city’s tourism boom over the past two decades has impacted New York’s economy. The number of tourists visiting New York City has increased from 33 million a year in the late 1990s to 62.7 million in 2017, making tourism a vital source of middle-income jobs in New York. Today, there are more direct jobs in tourism than in finance and nearly twice as many jobs as in the city’s tech sector.

Yet, the study concludes that New York’s tourism sector faces challenges that could cause tourism to slip and jobs to decline—from the strengthening dollar and growing negative perceptions of the U.S. to capacity problems at the city’s airports. Also: New York has never adequately planned for or made sufficient investments in its tourism infrastructure to sustain a city with 60 million tourists a year.

To see the full report, go here.

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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