New York City tourism officials welcomed the news on Monday that restrictions on travel to the United States would be relaxed in November. ..
Foreign visitors are an important driver of New York City’s economic growth, driving a steady increase in the number of hotels and restaurants in New York City and the jobs they support.
International travelers make up only one-fifth of the city’s visitors, but they generate 50% of the city’s tourism spending. According to Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s tourism promotion agency, they stay longer, shop more and occupy 50% of hotel room occupancy. NYC & Company, the city’s tourism marketing agency, said. Dixon welcomed the administration’s decision on Monday and called it a “shot in the arms of the industry.”
The restrictions on vaccinated travelers from European countries that sent millions of tourists to New York City a few years before the pandemic will be lifted. According to an analysis of Baruch College tourism data, more than 1.25 million visitors from the United Kingdom visited New York City in 2018. The United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union accounted for almost half of all international visitors that year.
Tourist businesses are most affected by the pandemic, and the restaurant, hotel and performing arts industries continue to be the largest and most persistent unemployed. Employment in the New York City hotel industry is still down 60% from pre-pandemic levels, and the number of jobs in full-service restaurants is still 40%, according to a new report from The New School’s New York City Affairs Center. It is decreasing.
“Everyone says New York is back, New York is back, but it’s not really back until tourists come back from all countries,” said Midtown’s father’s gift shop last year. Leila Sale, 28, a pastry chef who was forced to close, said. He didn’t have enough business.
“American tourists don’t shop like foreigners. We didn’t have a chance,” she said. “Now we are all doing a lot of work.”
Major retail districts that rely on foreign tourists and their spending, especially the luxury malls known as shops in the SoHo district and Hudson Yards, are struggling without them.
Prior to the pandemic, New York City visitors from other countries peaked at 13.5 million annually in 2019, according to data compiled by NYC & Company. This number plummeted to 2.4 million last year, almost all of which arrived before the pandemic occurred in early March and a travel ban was imposed.
NYC & Company predicted that this number would almost double this year to 4.6 million. This is a prediction that the Biden administration has relaxed the travel ban.
Authorities estimate that it will take until 2025 for the city to recover all of the international tourism lost due to the pandemic.
Luke Miller, owner of Real New York Tours, a walking tour, said the lifting of the ban on foreign visitors was “the best news since the outbreak of Covid” for his business.
Prior to the outbreak of the virus, Miller estimated that 65-70% of his business was from international travelers. And he had to dismiss 15 tour guides shortly after the pandemic began.
Jared Goldstein, an independent tour operator in New York City, said he was excited about the news. He estimated that his business would decline by more than 90% in 2020 from 2019.
“I am very happy to welcome them,” he said. Already Monday morning, he contacted a British client planning a group tour and told him he could finally finalize the plan. According to Goldstein, the client immediately replied that he would bring the group in February. He welcomed the fact that only vaccinated international travelers are allowed to visit the United States.
“I’m a New Yorker and I want the safety of the locals,” he said.