Earlier this month, mega-casino Revel Atlantic City closed its doors and the Trump Taj Mahal announced it may close by the end of the year. These two would join three others hotels in the city — the Showboat, Trump Plaza, and the Atlantic Club — that will shut their doors before the year ends. Atlantic City is now bracing itself for the loss of at least 9,000 jobs, at a time when its unemployment rate is already above ten percent. But Atlantic City is not the only former tourist city that is seeing a serious decline. San Antonio, Niagara Falls, and Myrtle Beach are all in tourist decline and struggling to find revitalization.
Contrast this with Colorado, where the city of Denver has had more international tourists than ever before and boasts a 75 percent increase in online hotel searches. Legalized marijuana has led to a tourism boom in this city, where out-of-state visitors currently represent 44 percent of metro area sales and up to 90 percent of resort towns. State officials project the state will collect $60 to $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana by the end of the fiscal year.
Likewise, prostitution in America is an $18 billion dollar industry without any tax revenue. As American history well proves, prohibition will never put an end to prostitution. Enabling cities to reap the financial rewards from the “worlds oldest profession,” on the other hand, can help bolster local budgets. In addition, there are tourist, health, and reasons of personal freedom to legalize both. Once considered some of the top travel destinations in the US, these cities should look to reinvent themselves by legalizing marijuana and prostitution to maintain their competitive edge as top vacation spots.