The Dramatic Effect of COVID on NYC Tourism

New York City tourism took a hit from the effects of the coronavirus. The city was among the early epicenters of the virus, which greatly affected the tourism sector. Under normal circumstances, NYC’s tourist destinations being flooded with tourists would be the typical scenario. But, due to the pandemic that has hit the whole world, things are different.

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Image courtesy Lotte New York Palace.

However, there is hope for NYC as infection cases and deaths are reducing. This informed the decision by authorities to begin reopening the city for business, albeit slowly. Tourists are slowly returning to the city. But it is going to be a long road to recovery for the city. The recovery plans are currently only focused on getting visitors from nearby areas like the rest of the New York state and bordering states like Connecticut and New Jersey.

Before the pandemic, New York City’s tourism was on an upwards trend for ten consecutive years, quite similarly to the casino tourism trend, with millions of tourists visiting the city, helping generate revenues in billions of dollars while creating jobs for hundreds of thousands.

In what is termed as a “gradual but certain” recovery, the city’s tourism stakeholders encourage New Yorkers to become tourists in their own home.

A Different Summer

Unlike other summers, there are fewer tourists from outside New York who don’t feel it’s a bad time to visit. The visitors reported having different but fascinating experiences. The deserted streets have allowed locals who’ve not exploited the city’s tourist sites to do so. A good example is the Brooklyn Bridge.

As businesses were coming to terms with losses from the low tourist turn out, visitors, on the other hand, enjoyed the cleaner, less populated streets and restaurants. If you travel with your family to the city you could walk in the streets holding hands without affecting others.

How Are Visitors Staying Safe?

covid met museum safety

The state authorities gave the thumb-up to open-air tourist attractions that are regarded as low-risk. As a result, zoos and botanical gardens have reopened their doors to visitors. Towards the end of August, several museums and cultural centers like The Metropolitan Museum of Art were also allowed to reopen.

To keep everyone safe, there is a mutual agreement between business owners and the public to follow set safety and hygiene protocols. Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask and keep social distance to help keep the curve flattened.

Visitors to the Empire State Building, which reopened its doors to the public in July, have to make reservations in advance. It only admits 20% of its standard capacity and requires visitors to wear masks and submit to temperature checks.

What Next?

The New York City tourism industry is expected to continue its recovery. More sectors within the industry will develop protocols that will enable them to come back to operations. The closed down businesses will begin reopening gradually as lives slowly return to normal. But since the pandemic is not over yet, businesses and the public have to exercise the highest levels of responsibility to avert another spike in infections.

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