The major question for tourism right now is whether Omicron is another Delta—suppressing travel and spending—or whether this variant will prove to be a milder version with less effect on New York City. Early reports are favorable from a tourism perspective:
- New Poll Suggests Fears of Omicron Will Not Significantly Affect Travel. 84% of respondents have plans in place now and 75% report not making changes to itineraries due to variant concerns.
- Omicron Variant Hasn't Slowed New Event Bookings. New event planners have hit a two-year high in bookings while virtual event planning has reached pandemic-era lows.
- Air Travel Holding Its Own Despite Omicron. An expected post-Thanksgiving dip in airline traffic has not occurred. Instead, the TSA recorded 22 million fliers at the beginning of December, which is 84% of 2019's numbers—impressive considering business and international leisure travel are still down.
Those reports are consistent with what we're seeing from other sources:
- AAA predicts heavy travel for the holidays—92% of 2019 levels, with airlines seeing a 184% increase from last year.
- Tripadvisor records the city at the top of the list for winter trips (Maui comes in second).
- An article in Crain's yesterday looks at the uptick in international travelers and notes that “foot traffic is noticeably up on Fifth Avenue, almost back to pre-pandemic levels.” City Guide is represented in the article, with our most recent data on tourists:
"One anecdotal piece of data is the percentage of New York City visitors who have taken a survey available in the print edition of the tourist magazine City Guide NY since late November. Of those, 45% were international and 55% domestic. City Guide is once again being distributed at 300 hotels around the city and generally already skews international, said Ethan Wolff, its director of content management. But nearly half was a good showing, considering that visitors from abroad stay longer and spend more: 'It could have been 25% and I wouldn’t have been surprised,' ” he said.
Other signs of new growth and recovery include:
- Hyatt Place New York / Chelsea has opened on West 24th Street
- Famed dim sum hall Jing Fong has reopened in Chinatown
- The Museum of the City of New York's "Day-Glo December: A Very 80s Holiday Celebration" is now open
- Tovah Feldshuh is back in New York with the one-woman show Becoming Dr. Ruth at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
- The Emily Warren Roebling Plaza has opened under the Brooklyn Bridge, marking the official completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Puerto Rico's Chocobar Cortés launches an NYC outpost in the Bronx on Friday
- Norwegian square-rigged tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl will be docked at Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park starting Saturday
- NYC Hotel Week will bring 22% discounts January 4th-February 13th
- Downtown Connection bus service will resume by January 15th
Links of Interest
- JFK to get new $9.5 billion Terminal One
- New plans for Central Park's Delacorte Theater
- Broadway sets new vaccination policy for children
- Latest bid for NYC casino includes flying car pads, crypto trading floor
- World’s 50 Best Bars includes three NYC entries: Katana Kitten, Dante, Attaboy
- The Met has removed the Sackler name from its walls
- NYC & Company unveils Asian content hub
- Manhattan rental rates rising at record pace
- Manhattan hotel reopens as homeless shelter despite protest from Billionaires Row residents
- NYC's spot on the 8 best American cities for book lovers? Of course we're #1...(and we're the most festive city as well)
- Risk expert says Covid could shift from crisis to nuisance in early 2022
- Corporate travel expected to accelerate in 2022; air passenger capacity to reach 2015 levels
- Museums not happy about the success of immersive pop ups
- Shifting consumer behavior impacting the future of travel
- Omicron shows negligible impact on global hotel industry for now
- Vaxxed or not, data suggests people are over Omicron/Delta, and COVID altogether
Everything to Do Facebook Group Post of the Week
As another marker of tourism's recovery, our Facebook Group Everything to Do NYC has seen accelerated growth since early November (now approaching 70,000 members). Broadway remains a major topic of conversation, like the over 100 comments on this query:
Suggestions for Broadway show for adult / teen?
- Nearly 20% of the responses recommended Wicked
- Dear Evan Hansen was second, with 15%
- Jagged Little Pill and Come From Away held the next tier down
- Hamilton got only one vote. Is momentum starting to flag there?
- Jagged Little Pill garnered some of the most passionate support, inspiring one commenter's "...riveting, relevant, exhilarating..."
If you're not a member of the group yet, join us. You'll find first-hand market research that you don't have to pay for.