New York City returns to the top as the number one destination for travelers this holiday season, for the first time since the pandemic began.
More than half of Americans (55%) plan to travel this winter, up 50% from 2020, according to the Winter Travel Index. Tripadvisor. An overwhelming majority of bookings remain domestic, with travelers looking to explore new horizons in each state.
Compared to last year’s numbers, vacation travel to the United States is expected to increase by just over 40%, according to The Vacationer’s Vacation Travel Survey.
US residents will head to New York to shop at Christmas markets and feast under the 79-foot-tall, nearly 12-ton Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Behind New York are Orlando in Florida, Las Vegas, Key West and Miami Beach in Florida. Notably, the second most populous city in the country, Los Angeles, came in at number 9.
Stacey Toussaint, operator of a travel agency in New York, is enthusiastic about the influx of tourists. Toussaint is the president of Upside down visitsa black woman-owned business that takes customers off the beaten path to explore the city’s lesser-told history.
She believes that tourism can be a tool to support other small businesses in her community.
“If tourism is done right, tourism can actually fill the void and generate income to keep institutions open. We donate part of our income to the churches we visit,” Toussaint told our sister network. NBC New York.
The Winter Travel Index found that Americans are feeling happier this holiday season compared to their international counterparts. However, the recent uncertainty surrounding the Omicron coronavirus variant could create more of a stir.
On Monday, President Joe Biden called the new variant cause for concern but “no cause for panic”, sharing the message that the White House is not considering another widespread lockdown in the United States.
The Biden administration plans to strengthen COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Currently, a negative COVID-19 test is required regardless of vaccination status. Fully vaccinated people must take a sample at least three days before entering the United States, while travelers who are not fully vaccinated must take the test no more than one day before leaving a foreign country.
“The CDC is evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible, including pre-departure testing closer to flight time and considerations for additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantine,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Tuesday.
The change in plan comes less than a month since the United States reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international tourists.
Even despite the setbacks of the pandemic, studies predict a slow and promising recovery as the Big Apple navigates a post-COVID-19 future in the tourism industry.
Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced an inclusive $450 million stimulus package.”Boosting tourism, boosting employment“which coincided with the reception of foreign citizens.
The plan consists of a $100 million tourism worker recovery fund and a total of $125 million for grant programs. While $200 million is earmarked to support small businesses that started just before or during the pandemic.
Although New York City saw a dramatic drop in visitor numbers in 2020 from the record year of 2019 with more than 66 million tourists, the city’s tourism agency predicts an increase in visitors in 2022.
The agency predicts that New York City will hopefully welcome just over 57 million tourists next year, mostly domestic, but nearly doubling international travelers in just one year.
The pace of recovery depends on a strong response to travel leisure after a year of lockdown.
Toussaint believes there is a great future for the tourism industry in the Big Apple, a city which she says “has stopped but has never stopped recovering”.