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New York Politicians Drive Up Hotel Prices and Drive Away Tourists

Anyone thinking of visiting New York City will be shocked at the nose-bleed prices of hotels.

Of course, NYC has always been expensive, especially in the island borough of Manhattan. But prices of $500 a night for the equivalent of a broom closet didn’t used to be normal. What gives?

It won’t shock Hotline readers that the villains are mostly the government and unions.

First, came restrictions on short-term apartment rentals – such as Airbnb.

The curbs on Airbnb took effect this summer and have already reduced the number of short-term listings by more than 80 percent.

City officials have also limited hotel supply in other ways. In 2010, it banned youth hostels, closing 55 of them (while they were opening up hotels to the homeless).

Finally, the growing popularity of non-union hotels prompted the city to bow to the Hotel Trades union and require hotels to acquire a special permit that could only be issued with a full city council vote.

Given that tourism and business conferences are one of the leading sources of revenue and economic activity in the city, the major effect of driving up hotel prices is to drive the out-of-towners and convention goers away. That hurts the local bars, restaurants, Broadway shows, and street vendors.

Can you think of anything dumber?

Unleash Prosperity Hotline


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