Home Nonprofit organization Even with COVID-19 wave, New York City sees tourists coming back: “This is the turning point we’ve been waiting for”

Even with COVID-19 wave, New York City sees tourists coming back: “This is the turning point we’ve been waiting for”



Even though New York City has grappled with an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, it is attracting growing numbers of tourists.

Airbnb ABNB,
claims the city is the most popular fall destination among its American travelers, putting the Big Apple ahead of other popular places like Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC and the Berkshires area of ​​Massachusetts. In general, Airbnb said urban places have been all the rage lately, a change from last year when rural destinations were very attractive.

The Times Square Alliance, a nonprofit that represents the area considered to be the city’s tourist hub, is also reporting a significant increase in foot traffic from a year ago. Over the past weekend, the organization said 240,000 people visited the region, which is an increase of 147% from about the same period in 2020. (In 2019, the figure was much higher – 422,000 – for the period.)

Businesses that cater specifically to tourists also said they see strong demand for the weeks and months to come. Carmine’s, an Italian restaurant in Times Square for almost 30 years, is already filling up for the holidays.

“Our months of November and December are going to explode,” said Jeffrey Bank, CEO of Alicart Restaurant Group, the company behind Carmine’s.

The city still faces challenges, concede business owners and others. For starters, coronavirus numbers are much higher than they were before the delta variant took hold. In June and July, the number of cases in the city often fell below 200 per day, according to the New York Times tracker. Now they are approaching or exceeding 2,000 per day.

And as relatively rosy as it may seem, the city still barely attracts the volume of visitors it did in the pre-COVID-19 era. In 2019, the city welcomed a record 66.6 million visitors, according to NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization. In 2020, that number fell to 22.3 million due to the pandemic, but NYC & Company forecast that it will rise to 36.4 million in 2021.

Chris Heywood, executive vice president of NYC & Company, said it’s not hard to see why the city is preparing so well for fall. He highlighted the reopening of Broadway – a number of shows, including “Hamilton,” resuming performances in September – as well as the return of several major annual fall events that were canceled in 2020, including the New York Marathon. .

“This is the turning point we’ve been waiting for,” Heywood said.

Heywood also said the city may attract visitors because of the precautions it is taking against the virus, including requiring proof of vaccination for anyone entering a restaurant or entertainment venue.

Invited to the New York City Wine & Food Festival 2019. The event returns this fall.

Getty Images for NYCWFF

Lee Schrager, who runs the New York City Wine & Food Festival, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about attending this year’s event, scheduled for Oct. 14-17, but it’s a bit too early. to say it. (Last year’s festival was limited to the internet.) Schrager also said smaller festival events, such as intimate dinners with celebrity chefs, prove particularly popular with ticket buyers, who may be hesitant. to engage now in larger gatherings.

The city also recently added a new attraction in the Times Square neighborhood – a privately owned Ferris wheel. It started offering rides at the end of August and will continue to operate until September 12.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, was among those who recently visited the wheel.

“It is an incredible experience” the mayor said on Twitter TWTR,
“You are floating above Times Square. It’s really cool. It really is different.

However, New York City still faces competition from other destinations. Florida has proven popular with visitors – at least in the second quarter of this year before the delta-related peak. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, attributed his state’s relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to its tourism success.

“Florida continues to set an example for the country that when you reject blockages and unnecessary mandates, your economy will thrive,” DeSantis said in a statement.

See also: NRA cancels annual meeting due to COVID-19 outbreak, joining growing list of groups ending events



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