Omicron Decline in NYC to Boost Tourism

The massive drop in the city's Omicron cases is as welcome as it is expected, conforming to other nations' experiences—and strongly suggesting that the worst is behind us. In just one week we've seen NYC positive tests dive from 20% down to 12.9%. After nearly a month, the MTA is resuming full subway service. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian is banking on steep drops in Covid and anticipating a return to profits in March. Tellingly, Delta sees no adverse effects past the Presidents' Day weekend for U.S. bookings. Other news that backs up optimism includes:

  • A new study shows Americans are comfortable traveling among Covid variants. Travel remains the top answer for what people most want to do when the pandemic ebbs. More than one-third of Americans are already comfortable traveling (more than half are fine with eating and drinking indoors). Older generations may be on the road sooner: 32% of Boomers/Gen-X are already comfortable traveling, compared to 26%of Gen-Z/Millennials.
  • Travel bug hits consumers. Polling suggests leisure travel this year could exceed pre-pandemic levels. U.S. travelers may spend fewer days at their destinations in 2022, but they're bumping up their spending: 29% more per booking.
  • Manhattan rents have surpassed pre-Covid rates for first time. Any qualms about the health of NYC should be quieted by the bounce back of the rental market (and commercial real estate as well—as one example, Brooklyn's investment spending is surpassing 2019 numbers).

A CNBC article notes the Omicron decline in U.S. cities, including this appraisal: “Sometime towards the beginning of March, mid-March, we should be in a very good position,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. “April, May, we’re going to have very few cases reported.”

covid omicron decline nyc

The most recent data available shows the plummet in city Covid cases, most of which are of the Omicron variant. Source: NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Links of Interest

top of the rock blocks

New interactive art experience BUILDINGS AND BLOCKS is now on display at Top of the Rock, on view until March 13th. The installation is inspired by the skyline and shapes of the city as viewed from the Top of the Rock observation deck. It's free to all Top of the Rock ticket holders. Photo courtesy of Rockefeller Center. 



Occupancy and Rate Metrics

revpar nyc

From the Hotel Association of New York City for the week January 02-08, 2022.

Everything to Do Facebook Group Post of the Week

City Guide's Facebook Group Everything to Do NYC brings together more than 75,000 NYC visitors and superfans. People trade notes on best pizzas and bagels, Broadway shows, and which activities are worth the investment of time and money. Nearly 100 people took the time to comment on this post, looking for advice on how to spend a cold Saturday as a tourist in NYC.

It’s going to be 18 degrees Saturday. Our first full day and I have 3 teen girls. How is Bleeker Street in the west village? We were supposed to do the highline and edge but I think it will be too cold. I’ve read the summit experience is a too crowded so thinking we may have to explore soho, west village…any suggestions for a bitter cold day?

Commenters let her know that Summit wasn't too crowded and offered three floors to spread out visitors, in addition to recommendations that included Chelsea Market, the Ice Cream Museum, Christian Dior at the Brooklyn Museum, Fotografiska, Stranger Things: The Official Store, 9/11 Museum, Blue Man Group, RiseNY, Buffalo Exchange for thrift shopping, Central Park Zoo, Whitney, Hudson Yards, Color Factory, Madame Tussauds, Black Tap, Seaport, The Ride, and The Shops at Columbus Circle. There's lots more on there if you need ideas, or want to find out what people are thinking about and suggesting in real time. If you're not a member yet, join us!

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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