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COVID-19: New Report Projects How Long It Will Take NYC Tourism To Return To Pre-Pandemic Level

Tourism in New York City isn't expected to fully return back to 2019 levels for several years.
Tourism in New York City isn't expected to fully return back to 2019 levels for several years. Photo Credit: ny.gov

It could be years until tourism fully recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

In a report from NYC & Company released on Monday, Nov. 16, due to a lack of international tourists expected back in the Big Apple for some time due to the pandemic, as well as domestic travel restrictions, the city may not return to its 2019 pre-pandemic level before 2025.

According to NYC & Company, which commissioned the study, a return to normalcy and tourism largely hinges on when or if a vaccine is distributed, and how effective it is.

NYC & Company’s report projects that by the end of 2020, tourism will have plummeted 66 percent, from 66.6 million tourist trips in 2019 to 22.9 million this year. It is estimated that tourism generated nearly upwards of $70 million last year.

Tourism was one of the hardest-hit industries in New York, with hotel workers being laid off early, some hotels being transitioned into housing for homeless or essential workers, and airlines getting hit hard at the peak of the pandemic.

The closure of Broadway theaters for the foreseeable future has also factored into the lack of tourists making their way into New York City. Spectators at professional sports are also banned, and large events are prohibited.

According to the report, if business travel restrictions that impact large events are lifted, New York City could potentially be back to 2019 levels within three years, though it was noted that “international travel after Sept. 11, 2001, took four full years to recover.

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