State Legislators Unveil New Statewide Funding Legislation for Tourism Recovery Following Devastation from COVID-19 


LONG ISLAND, NY (September 11, 2020) ­– Senator Tim Kennedy, Buffalo and Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Wheatley Heights joined Long Island tourism leaders to unveil an innovative new funding concept designed to aid tourism industries statewide who are suffering from budget decimations and lack of federal assistance eligibility.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on New York's hospitality and tourism industries, creating a rippling financial effect on cities and businesses statewide," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "Through the introduction of this legislation, Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre and I aim to mitigate that loss of revenue by allowing municipalities to create tourism recovery districts - a concept that is already supported by dozens of businesses, from Long Island to Western New York. In partnership with Discover Long Island and Visit Buffalo Niagara, we look forward to moving this legislation forward, and creating a new stream of revenue and opportunity for New York's economy."

"The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating consequences for New York's tourism industry, especially here on Long Island. At a time of great economic uncertainty, this legislation will generate critically needed revenue for local tourism initiatives that will help boost local economies and support our small businesses which are the bedrock of our communities. I am thankful to have strong partners in Senator Kennedy, Discover Long Island and every other impacted stakeholder on this important measure and I look forward to continuing to work together in the coming months to help ensure tourism in New York comes back stronger than ever before." - Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre

According to a recent study by HR&A Advisors, Long Island’s $6.1 billion industry has been among the hardest hit due to COVID-19 closures and disruptions, with job losses topping 80,000 and recovery expected to take years. The U.S. Travel Association estimates $505 billion in losses for the travel industry through the end of 2020 due to the Pandemic and 40% of excess U.S. unemployment listed in the Leisure and Hospitality sector.

“Tourism and hospitality have taken the brunt of the negative impacts related to COVID-19 and many of our businesses and catering facilities that have been family owned and operated for generations remain closed today,” said Kristen Jarnagin, President & CEO of Discover Long Island. “There has never been a more critical time to take the lead for this industry that generates more than $740 million in local and state tax revenues and is vital to every resident in our state who depends on the services that these businesses provide. We applaud Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre for their steadfast support of our industry, our businesses and this innovative funding mechanism.”

“As you look at an industry that has been decimated by the economic shutdown resulting from COVID-19, we need to make sure our tourism promotion agencies have the ability to properly promote all this great region has to offer as we begin the long road to economic recovery,” said Mark Dorr, President of the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association. “This Bill allows for counties and the hotel industry to ‘opt-in’ to a newly funded marketing program that will not be solely reliant on occupancy tax formulas. It is a necessary, forward-thinking approach, that will assist in keeping tourism the third-largest industry in the state.”

The new Senate and Assembly Bill proposed by Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre respectively would support the establishment of Tourism Recovery Improvement Districts across New York State. This statewide legislation would enable local municipalities to opt in for a dedicated funding stream that would create a path towards vital relief to Long Island and New York State’s tourism economy.

“Since the formation of the first TID more than twenty years ago in West Hollywood, CA, hotels and destinations have been successfully supplementing their tourism marketing programs with TID funds,” said John Lambeth, Founder & President of Civitas.   “Now established in 17 states across the United States with the same number of states moving through implementation and legislative processes, TIDs are proven mechanisms providing real, accountable and thriving solutions to their local economies.”

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