As Restrictions Ease, Tourists Return to NYC

A pedestrian is reflected in plastic table dividers for an empty outdoor dining area in midtown Manhattan. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As the weather warms and restrictions ease, New York City’s allure is drawing tourists back

An increase of tourism numbers is a boon for a city whose entertainment and hospitality industries brought in billions every year until the pandemic brought travel to a screeching halt.

The Times Square Alliance saw 115,000 people browsing the stores and ordering from the restaurants that make up the visitor heart of Manhattan. In September, the average number of daily visitors was 100,00.

“We have a little ways to go, but we will be back and we will be better than we were before. We’re not going to fall back to the old norm, we’re going to fall forward—be better, be stronger,” Tom Harris of the Times Square Alliance told WCBS 880.

Though only .01% of New York City’s landmass, the entertainment, restaurant and hotel hub in midtown Manhattan generates 15% of the city’s economic output.

Additionally, as restaurants being able to increase their indoor capacity by 50%, many restaurant owners have seen a boost in revenue coming from sit down dining after nearly a year of relying on takeout.

With spring arriving and travel restrictions easing on April 1st for domestic travelers, Harris said he was optimistic the city’s reputation as a must-see vacation site will reopen stores, rehire workers, and power the city’s economic regrowth.