Key tourism indicators return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 in Lower Manhattan

 Tuesday, March 28, 2023 


According to a survey conducted by Audience Research & Analysis (ARA) for the Alliance between May and November 2022, Lower Manhattan saw several key tourism indicators return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

According to ARA, the high increase in international tourists was the most significant sector of tourism growth. The proportion of international visitors among all tourists nearly doubled to 55 percent from 28 percent in 2021, falling just short of the 62 percent figure reached before the pandemic in 2019. In total, 47 percent of international tourists were visiting New York City for the first time, up from 42 percent in 2021 and 34 percent in 2020.

The key feeder markets of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom accounted for more over 40% of international travellers in 2022, demonstrating that airline traffic to New York had returned to pre-pandemic levels. In contrast, the Asian tourism sector continues to lag behind its 2019 figures, owing in large part to ongoing travel restrictions and geopolitical difficulties, accounting for only 4% of group excursions.

The poll also revealed that sightseeing remained the most popular reason for tourists to visit Lower Manhattan, with the Westfield World Trade Center (called the Oculus) and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum being the most popular attractions. Nonetheless, restaurants and arts and culture now account for a far bigger proportion of visitors to the neighbourhood than they did before the pandemic. Visitors drawn to Lower Manhattan solely for its arts and culture have more than quadrupled since 2019, climbing to 12 percent.

“While more visitors may mean increasing competition to snag a table at your favorite downtown restaurant, rebounding tourism is great news for our restaurants, hotels, small businesses and the thousands who work in our hospitality industries,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

Despite increases in visitors and statistical improvements throughout several sectors of the tourism industry, the number of unique visitors to Lower Manhattan remains 29 percent lower than the record peak of 17.1 million in 2019.

The mission of the Alliance for Downtown New York is to provide service, advocacy, research and information to advance Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century Central Business District for businesses, residents and visitors. The Downtown Alliance manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District (BID), serving an area roughly from City Hall to the Battery, from the East River to West Street.

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