No matter your personal opinion on the subject, if you're a hotelier in New York State, and New York City in particular, you should be thrilled the state last week became the fifth in the U.S. (plus District of Columbia) to legalize gay marriages. Civic and tourism officials believe the law, which takes effect July 24, will create a wave of gay couples who come to the state for their ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons.
New York City jumped on the bandwagon immediately after passage by the legislature, announcing plans for a “NYC I Do” ad campaign to sell the city as a destination for gay weddings. The city's tourism website already has an FAQ section to help couples plan their weddings in the city. And several hotels, including Le Parker Meridien and the four W Hotels in Manhattan, are promoting wedding packages. More will certainly follow.
How much this law will add to the city's $31 billion tourism business is unknown at this point. (One report says the state will earn $400 million over the next three years from increases in tourism, sales tax revenues and wedding license fees.) However, it is bound to help thousands of businesses, hotels included, in the city and state at a time when everyone needs as much extra revenue as possible.
So, no matter your viewpoint on the matter, you should consider putting pressure on your local legislatures to enact similar legislation. The momentum is building throughout the country toward recognition of same-sex marriages, and those states, like New York, that jump on board early will be the ones that reap the economic benefits.