After the Covid pandemic brought the city’s tourism industry to a near standstill, officials say they expect visitors to return in greater numbers this year. In a new report released this week, NYC & Company, the city’s tourism agency, projects that New York City will see a 70 percent increase in tourism in 2022, including approximately 8 million international visitors. However, the city will be missing out on its fasting growing source of tourism, as China is still not permitting its citizens to travel abroad.
The city welcomed 32.9 million visitors in 2021, up from 22.3 million in 2020, but still dramatically lower than the over 66 million travelers that visited in 2019. NYC & Company’s outlook for 2022 predicts visitation will grow to 56.4 million in 2022 and reach heights of 65 million in 2023.
The study found international visitation was impacted most by the pandemic but is expected to nearly triple in 2022 as the world gradually lifts its travel restrictions. Business travel experienced a sharp decline due to the adoption of remote work with a mere 3.9 million travelers in 2021, but it’s expected to double to more than 9 million travelers in 2022.
According to the study, western European markets are expected to see the largest rebound in 2022, with South American markets following closely behind but with a slight impediment due to economic conditions.
Asian markets will take the longest to rebound due to long travel distances, hesitance for international travel, and travel restrictions. Canada and Mexico were the largest sources of tourism in 2021 and will continue to grow into 2022.
Hotel indicators have shown that room demand occupancy is steadily recovering, and after being briefly interrupted by the Omicron variant in January, has continued to rise. Hotel room rates have recovered faster than both occupancy and demand, already exceeding pre-pandemic levels in February.
Hotel room supply is projected to increase in the coming years, with more than 10,000 additional rooms expected to be ready by 2024. The city created 20,000 new rooms in 2021 through reactivated inventory and new properties.
Mayor Eric Adams gave NYC & Company an additional $10 million towards their “It’s Time for New York City” promotional campaign launched last year to support the city’s tourism recovery towards the tail end of the pandemic, according to the New York Times.
There is still a lot of work to be done before the city reaches full recovery. Roughly 115 of the city’s hotels have yet to reopen, and overall employment in the hospitality sector is down by about 100,000 jobs compared to before the pandemic.
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