NYC tourism down two thirds with only 23 million people visiting in 2020

Published on : Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New York City’s tourism is down two thirds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 23 million people still visited the city in 2020, and experts say it won’t recover until 2024.


Last year, 66 million people visited New York City, almost three times as many as this year. NYC & Co, a city tourism agency, projects that by the end of the year, 23 million will have visited.


In 2017, 65 million tourists generated $44.2billion in revenue for the city and while final total numbers are not clear for 2018 and 2019, 2019 set a record.


But now, tourism is not likely to recover until 2024, when the majority of international travellers will be vaccinated and ready to fly again, according to the city agency.


‘The New York City travel industry began 2020 in good position for another record year, with very strong performance in January, February and early March.


‘The public health and safety measures put in place in mid-March to address the pandemic put practically all leisure and most business travel on hold,’ the agency said in a release.


Of the tourists visiting the city, there have only been 2.4 million international visitors, a 80 percent drop, according to the data.


Most visitors travelled from other states across America during the summer months.


‘Given the uncertainty generated by the pandemic for economic recovery and consumer confidence in travel, the conservative outlook takes us to 2024 to top the 2019 benchmark.


‘The overall industry could be back to 2019 levels in three years, especially if business travel restrictions affecting large events and meetings are eased in 2022,’ the agency said.


The agency also noted that that it took travel four years to recover after 9/11.


‘While the full recovery of global tourism will be gradual following the wide distribution of successful vaccines in 2021, we are bullish on New York City’s recovery and its enduring appeal to travellers.


‘Given significant pent-up demand, we target regaining half our 2019 volume by end of 2021 and to be fully back three years from then,’ said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon.


In 2017, 65 million visitors spent $42 billion which supported more than 300,000 jobs. That revenue is likely to be cut drastically, along with the number of visitors.


Since March, most tourists from Europe, Iran and China have been banned from visiting the US. Anyone traveling from another state in America must adhere to quarantine rules and have two negative COVID-19 tests within 5 days before they can go out and about freely.


Hotel occupancy is currently down about 80 percent from normal, and traffic at metro area airports is down about 75 percent, according to the Hotel Association of New York City and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.


Until it recovers, shop vendors in iconic tourist spots are struggling to stay afloat.

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