MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — New York City is back in a big way, according to tourists and tourism officials.
And this current blast of arctic air isn’t going to stop those visitors who waited two pandemic years to enjoy all the sights and sounds of New York City during the holidays.
The Pan family of Brewster is splurging on a night on the town, dining at the Mermaid Oyster Bar on West 43rd Street before seeing the Broadway superhit “Hamilton.”
“It’s the holidays,” Dru Finley, an NYC visitor, told PIX11 News. “The food is delicious, and the city is getting back.”
“Tourism is great for everyone,” Jeffrey Bank, a restaurateur and co-owner of Mermaid Oyster Bar, told PIX11 News. “It brings tourists into restaurants, going out to the theater, it helps everyone with jobs, jobs, jobs, so the more the mayor and New York City and Company promote tourism, the better it is for everyone.”
According to NYC and Company, holiday tourism is almost reaching pre-pandemic levels.
There will be 6.5 million visitors to the city between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The total number for the year is expected to be 56.4 million. International tourists, who spend the most money, have tripled compared to last year and the full effect on the New York City economy is $60 billion.
“Compared to the pre-pandemic, 2019 was a record year for tourism,” Tiffany Townsend, the executive five presidents for Global Communication for NYC & Company, told PIX11 News. “We’re at 85% of that record in 2022, but we’re certainly on the upswing.”
Even the outer boroughs are seeing an upswing in tourists.
At the Queens County Farm Museum lantern festival, there’s been a 25% increase in visitors compared to last year.
“We are a safe green open space, free admission 354 days of the year, and that’s part of the charm and these adorable animals behind me,” Jennifer Walden Weprin, ex. director Queens County Farm Museum told PIX11 News.
And even in this beyond bone-chilling cold, it’s a sold-out night at the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park. Nothing will stop these tourists from Minnesota from hitting the ice.
“When you’re moving around the ice, it feels pretty good,” Isaac Leiseth, 12, told PIX11 News.