New York launches an unprecedented campaign to revitalize tourism

How to get tourists back? After a successful vaccination campaign against Covid and a positive test rate of less than 5%, New York hopes to regain its appeal with other major cities and launches a campaign of unprecedented scope to attract visitors in June.

Tell Americans and international tourists that “New York Wakes Up” will cost $ 30 million, an unprecedented amount proposed Wednesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the chairman of the municipal tourism office, Fred Dixon.

As travel is still restricted, the message in traditional media, social networks and via ‘influencers’ will primarily target Americans, starting with the friends or relatives of New Yorkers who will be called to “visit” them. And then, if the pandemic permits, it will spread to a global audience, Dixon explained.

“Before the pandemic, there were 400,000 jobs related to tourism, they will return,” De Blasio said at a news conference. “New York is waking up, we have to tell people that we are open, that they are safe … It won’t happen overnight, we know it, but it will happen.”

The risk is significant for a city that was one of the most visited in the world before the pandemic, with a record number of 66.6 million visitors in 2019. The number of tourists has dropped to 22 million in 2020.

Large pre-pandemic investments should be written off, such as the $ 1,200 million Javits Center convention center, or the $ 8,000 million renovation of LaGuardia airport.

The bet is not won in advance: business districts have been abandoned for 13 months, with most employees still working from home, depriving a huge ecosystem of restaurants, shops and hotels of income. And crime is on the rise, reminiscent of the filthy and sometimes dangerous city that New York was in the 1970s-1980s.

Despite the beginning of the recovery of sporting activities and some entertainment, major attractions such as Broadway musicals are still inaccessible: their return is scheduled for September, although the tourism board has not ruled out the expected date on Wednesday.

In those circumstances New York does not expect to receive a huge number of tourists until 2023. The municipal government estimates that the largest city in the United States will reach pre-pandemic levels that year, with 64.7 million visitors, and resume growth from 2024, with 69 million tourists.