A new forecast projects New York’s tourism industry might not recover from its pandemic-related woes for at least four more years, dampening hope that the hospitality sector will stage a rapid recovery when a coronavirus vaccine arrives.
Last year, over 66 million visitors traveled to New York and the city’s tourism agency, NYC & Company, expected there would be even more this year, the New York Times reported.
Now, the agency projects tourism to reach only one-third of last year’s number, with just 22.9 million visitors expected this year.
The next few years won’t look much better: NYC & Company projects that 38.2 million will visit the city in 2021, and fewer than 5 million of those coming from outside the U.S. (International visitors spend about four times as much as domestic ones, according to the Times.)
It will take until 2024 for the number of visitors to hit 69 million, according to the forecast.
Tourism is one of the major economic drivers for New York, with the hospitality industry alone responsible for about $46 million in annual spending, according to the Times. But the lack of tourism and Covid-related restrictions have caused many restaurants and hotels to close down permanently.
At the end of October, more than 1.3 million residents were collecting unemployment benefits and the city’s unemployment rate jumped to 14.1 percent.
[NYT] — Keith Larsen