Long Island, NY (June 8, 2023) — Discover Long Island, the region’s official and only accredited destination marketing organization, announces that historic legislation was signed into law that increases the hotel/motel tax rate in Suffolk County from 3% to 5.5%, benefitting local cultural institutions, increasing the budget for tourism promotion and supporting infrastructure to build the region’s first ever convention center.
The legislation, signed by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul in late 2022 and overwhelmingly approved on the local level in April, officially went into effect on June 1, 2023, and is expected to nearly double the local hotel/motel tax collections paid by visitors to Long Island, who spend $6.3 billion annually to experience the region’s iconic attractions, including The Hamptons, Wine Country, and world class beaches. This is the first increase of Suffolk County’s hotel/motel tax in almost 15 years, which prior to the increase was one of the lowest in the nation. Benefits of the additional revenues include:
- Formation of funding mechanism for building Long Island’s first Convention Center as part of the proposed Midway Crossing development near Long Island MacArthur Airport
- Increased funding for Discover Long Island from $2 million to $6 million annually for tourism promotion
- Support for museums, historical societies, County parks and cultural attractions in Suffolk County
- Tourism promotion funding for Long Island’s famed “East End” communities
- Dedicated marketing to promote Long Island MacArthur Airport
- Increased funding for film promotion
The increased investment for tourism promotion through the region’s global award-winning destination marketing organization, Discover Long Island, led by President & CEO, Kristen Reynolds, CDME since 2015, aims to enhance their ability to remain competitive and grow strategically as a thriving destination for leisure travelers who generate $760 million in annual state and local tax revenue, while working to develop necessary assets to market Long Island as an ideal destination for business travelers for the first time.
“This historic achievement underscores the power and importance of Long Island tourism for the growth and sustainability of our entire economy and Long Island’s future. A convention center at the heart of our world-class destination is key to unlocking Long Island’s access to the multi-billion-dollar meetings industry,” said Discover Long Island President & CEO, Kristen Reynolds, CDME. “Long Island is the global headquarters for industry-leading companies including Canon USA, Henry Schein, Estee Lauder, 1-800-Flowers and many more. This hub of innovation leads the nation in biotech, aerospace, manufacturing and alternative energy solutions and a convention center elevates our economic achievements, bolsters leisure travel opportunities, and creates the demand for increased air lift from Long Island MacArthur Airport. We applaud the Discover Long Island Board of Directors, Governor Hochul, County Executive Bellone, the entire Suffolk County Legislature, as well as our local Labor leaders for their bold vision to invest in Long Island’s future.”
“Midway Crossing is slated to be the most consequential development our region has seen in decades with a proposed 100,000 sq ft convention center, a 300-room connecting hotel and commercial space dedicated to luring Life Sciences that will further solidify Long Island as a leader in health, science and innovation,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “It’s unimaginable that a region of our size and significance, home to three million people, thriving industries, the best healthcare and education in the nation, adjacent to New York City, doesn’t have a convention center. A convention center would not only pump more than $4 billion into our local economy annually but it will inspire future generations to stay and work on Long Island by sustaining thousands of high-paying jobs.”
About the Location & Midway Crossing Development
The proposed Midway Crossing development is set on 179 acres of public land near the center of Long Island and with ideal proximity to Long Island MacArthur Airport and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), with direct connection to Penn Station and Grand Central Station in New York City. With Life Science amenities, a convention center, connecting hotel and walkable entertainment, Midway Crossing would create a Long Island business hub with seamless and unparalleled access to New York City as well as Long Island’s most iconic destinations including The Hamptons, Montauk, championship golf courses and Wine Country.
ABOUT DISCOVER LONG ISLAND:
Discover Long Island is the region’s official destination marketing and leadership organization charged with furthering the destination’s thriving visitor economy, which saw record-breaking highs in 2019 generating $6.3 billion in visitor spending. The organization ensures Long Island’s coveted quality of life, thriving industries, and dynamic destination offerings are promoted on a global level, furthering economic development, and benefiting residents and businesses throughout the region. Awarded “Best Social Media” in the nation by the US Travel Association, the organization produces engaging content featuring local businesses and attractions for their 10 social media channels which garner upwards of 10 million views. Additionally, the organization hosts a popular YouTube series, Long Island TV, as well as the Long Island Tea podcast. To learn more, please call 631-951-3900 or visit www.DiscoverLongIsland.com.
Image: Convention Center Rendering
Justine DiGiglio, V.P. of Communications