Though annoying, tourism has impact on NYC’s bottom line

Like locusts to a plague, they come ready to feast.

But unlike the one-time-only show for Pharaoh, there’s no season for these pests. They swallow everything in their path, from airbrushed tees to snowglobes depicting the city’s landmarks. They clutch maps and guidebooks, and constantly look at odds with their surroundings.  Their distinctive manner of dress immediately announces their intentions (that is, to gobble up pre-processed culture that should be unfit for consumption), and warns the natives to keep their distance.

Though these pests seem to maintain the sole purpose of crowding the sidewalks for city citizens, they exist to bolster the flagging economy. mentions that the city accounts for the majority of the state’s tourism earnings, both with various events and the celebrated holiday happenings. NYCGo shows how great a fiscal aid the pests are in numerical terms.  Visitor spending in 2008 brought in over 32 billion, and bolstered over 313,000 jobs. More money spent by the locusts clearly benefits New York’s citizens.

Since the city relies on tourism so heavily, revenues can suffer due to uncontrollable events. While volcano ash clouds prevented Europeans from traveling, the New York Daily News predicted that the city would lose around 250 million in revenue. This became especially significant considering that four of the top five countries sending pests to New York are European, with the United Kingdom the clear leader (NYCGo).

In an August 17 article for, Rick Leventhal mentions that 23.5 million pests have swarmed in since the beginning of this year. Following the upward trajectory would result in “an all-time record.”

And maybe the pests aren’t just gorging on Cheez-Whiz culture. Leventhal reports that “attendance at museum exhibits and Broadway is at an all-time high.”

About Sarah Ewald

Grad student at CUNY J-school. I'm interested in writing, new media and entertainment (among many other things).
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