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Tourism Brings Green, But Can it Be Green?

2011 August 1

By Kasia Broussalian

You know those I ♥ NY T-shirts? There’s a reason they are so popular. Though France has the Eiffel Tower, and Rome has St. Peter’s Basilica, New York City has no shortage of its own icons. First and foremost there’s the Statue of Liberty. But then there’s the Empire State Building. Don’t forget about Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, and yes, even the Wall Street Bull. All these certainly make for quite a busy trip.

Of, course, there’s money involved, too. In 2010, 47.8 million tourists visited New York City from all over the world, spending a whopping $31 billion dollars that supported roughly 303,649 jobs here in the city. While that’s presumably great for our own economy (not to mention SoHo’s), all that traffic (foot and otherwise) placed quite a bit of strain on the city’s resources and sustainability goals. While many tourist destinations around the world have a designated season, thereby giving the ecology of the city a break in between; New York City does not. There are certainly spikes around Thanksgiving and Christmas; but otherwise, numbers of visitors remain fairly consistent. Which means the city really has to work at putting its green foot forward every day of the year. One way the city combats the strain from tourism is by placing portable drinking fountains near icon locations (stay tuned for next week’s post!). What are some areas the city needs to work on to efficiently keep up with the tourists’ pace?

Check out this slideshow from Life on how to blend in with the crowd. Hopefully it’ll give you quite a chuckle.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Eiffel Tower permalink
    October 28, 2011

    Hi Kasia,

    New York had 47.8 million visitors last year, and Paris had 30 million. But I would never compare the two cities in terms of sustainability, because Paris is much more dirtier and smellier than New York, hence New York is a way greener.

    Now, the truth is Paris has more tourist attractions than New York – the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Pantheon, Les Invalides, Versailles, just to name a few.

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