Editor’s note: Since the publication of this story, a spokesperson for Urban Commons contacted the Signal Tribune saying that they paid the TOT they owed to the City of Long Beach as of Friday, May 22, within the required 10 days of notice.
Los Angeles real-estate developers Urban Commons, operators of the Queen Mary since 2016, issued a novel report last week created by research consultants Beacon Economics assessing the financial impact of the venerable ship docked in Long Beach.
Now a public attraction featuring hotel rooms, dining establishments, bars and special events, the Queen Mary generated $93.7 million in “economic output,” or value, for the city last year, according to the report.
The Queen Mary had 1.5 million visitors in 2019, hosting 50 events with 360,000 participants who spent over $46 million in Long Beach, the report states.
Most of that spending went to food and beverages, followed by accommodations and local transportation.
The spending also generated $3.3 million in tax revenue for the City of Long Beach, $1.4 million in the form of a hotel-related transient-occupancy tax (TOT), including from the Queen Mary’s own 347 rooms and nearly 166,000 guests in 2019, the report states.
However, the report comes amid the Queen Mary’s current closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Urban Commons’ recent scrutiny over failure to pay its TOT to the city, according to media reports.
“While COVID-19 has impacted every hotel globally, we look forward to travel restrictions being lifted so the Queen Mary may continue to boost economic output, jobs and taxes for the City of Long Beach and the surrounding region in the process,” Taylor Woods, Urban Commons’ founder, said in a May 12 statement.
In terms of its job impact, the Queen Mary supported 1,365 Long Beach employees last year– 329 of them at the ship– and paid them more than $42 million, the report states.
The ship had nearly as much additional economic impact for the rest of Los Angeles County as it did for just Long Beach, supporting 2,224 jobs altogether and generating $205 million in economic output and more than $6 million in countywide taxes last year.
“The Queen Mary is a glorious piece of history, but unlike many historical treasures, the contributions it makes today continue to impress,” Mazen Bou Zeineddine, senior analyst at Beacon Economics and one of the report’s authors, said in a statement. “As an iconic Southern California attraction, it generates and supports a tremendous amount of
economic activity, both directly and indirectly.”
As the ship’s leaseholder until 2080, Urban Commons announced earlier this year its intention to create a 30-year preservation plan for the Queen Mary, developing areas surrounding the ship to generate additional renovation funds.
See related story: Getting the Queen Mary shipshape to take 30 years
In the meantime, the Queen Mary has been temporarily closed for business since March and a reopening date remains uncertain, a spokesperson for Urban Commons told the Signal Tribune. .
“All operations aboard the ship are suspended, and we’ll follow local- and state-government recommendations to open the ship safely,” Urban Commons said. “The health and safety of employees, guests and the wider community must come first.”