CDC Travel Guidelines and Latest NYC Tourism News

On November 8 international travelers will be eligible to return. Already, international searches on U.S. travel are spiking. The CDC has just released its latest guidance and it clears holiday gatherings and travel for the vaccinated. U.S. travel numbers were better than expected in September, reaching pandemic-era peaks, and traveler intent remains strong. The Lincoln Square BID notes foot traffic in the neighborhood has nearly doubled as arts and culture have returned. Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, reports most of September's 77 performances were sold out or close to full. These confluences of factors bode well for an active holiday season in NYC. Other recovery news includes:

A new survey has some insight into the travel trends for Thanksgiving. NYC is in there, with an 80% increase over last year—and prime standing as the #1 destination for Thanksgiving break travel.

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"Collaboration" was the word attendees kept returning to yesterday as City Guide convened the latest in its series of Tourism Marketing Forums. The need for partnering and innovating together was spoken of repeatedly, along with a collective call for political accountability in addressing the crisis in midtown. There was much optimism, as the room recounted a roller coaster ride that saw dips with the Delta variant and vaccine mandates and rises as the city begins its fall recovery. Tangible signs of recovery included comments like: 

  • "We're up 20% over 2019."

  • "With Broadway back we're seeing a surge in early traffic."

  • "People are starting to turn the corner on the mandate."

  • Based on national sale records being set this year, "we're going to invest massively in this property."

  • "We had six sold out shows on the weekend."

  • "Thanksgiving week looks like any other year and the same through the holidays."

Margaritaville Resort Times Square played host, fresh off its ascent to the #1 New York hotel ranking on Tripadvisor. (A post-event tour showed off seven floors of food and beverage, including striking eye-level views of the Times Square Ball.) The forum's featured guest was Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO of Hotel Association of New York City. While recounting the challenges faced by the city's hotel industry, he noted that "by next summer we will see a transformed city." He was realistic about the impact of Covid on conventions and group travel and noted that luxury has rebounded quicker than other hotel segments. His overall conclusion? "We'll come back. Don't ever write the city off."





  • Felidia, the midtown restaurant that launched the Bastianich Empire, closes after four decades
  • The Freehand Hotel’s star restaurant Simon & the Whale is done; new Latin American spot Comodo to fill the space


tourism industry poll response

The results of our informal question last week—How are you feeling about tourism's return to NYC for the holiday season?reflected what we heard in person at the Tourism Marketing Forum. A full three-quarters of respondents classified themselves in the optimistic or cautiously optimistic categories, with negativity in the minority.

About the Author

Ethan Wolff is the author of numerous guidebooks to New York, having covered the city for more than two decades. He has written for New York Magazine, BlackBook, and Details, among others. In addition to his work as the editor of City Guide, Ethan covers NYC’s talk and lecture scene for the website Thought Gallery. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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