GANYC Will Keep Fighting For NYC's Tourism Recovery

By now, many in the NYC tourism sector have seen this NY Times article making the rounds:
"Tourism, Engine for N.Y.C. Economy, May Not Fully Recover Until 2025"

This article is causing a lot of panic in the NYC tourism world, and only time will tell whether that it is warranted or not. The news took the joy for many out of a week that also saw several promising vaccine candidates releasing encouraging numbers.

To clarify, the word "fully" in the headline carries a lot of weight, and was ignored by some. The officials interviewed by the Times speculate that it will take years for tourism to get back to its full pre-pandemic levels, which was 67+ million visitors in 2019 and an industry that was generating $70 billion in economic activity (see the NYC & Co report/trend outlook that led to this article). And yes, it will most likely take a few years to get back to those highs. But the article also takes a worse-case scenario and presents it as the most likely. If the city and tourism officials work together, that recovery can, and will, begin later next year.

We went from tens of millions of visitors to almost none between the end of last year and the beginning of this past Spring. The recovery will not go back up from 0 to 60 quite so rapidly. But it will also not take 4 years for tourists to return.

New York remains one of the most desirable travel destinations on the planet. Even during a pandemic, with health & safety guidelines in place across the state, the city has received visitors. Given the number of people I kept seeing all over Manhattan this past month visiting from outside the state (and some seemingly from outside the country?), it's clear the demand has not disappeared one bit.

Next year we fully understand will be a year largely of transition and recovery (see the most recent GANYC Virgil issue for my thoughts on the vaccine timeline and the road back to "normal"). But once it is deemed safe to truly travel again, and when borders reopen, visitors will begin to flock here. The city should begin thinking ahead to this now. GANYC sure is.

GANYC has hundreds of professional guides in its membership, and we will continue to keep preparing, and adapting, for the recovery.

GANYC continues to promote its Health & Safety Guidelines for touring, and will continue to adapt all around as the situation here in New York changes over these next painful months.

In the meantime, of course, we will continue our focus through the Spring on local area travelers and explorers through our Tour Your Own City initiative. On the tours I have given these past few months, I have heard from many locals have soul-refreshing it was to get out and explore, and how much they regret not exploring the hidden gems of their own city sooner. It reminded me, in fact, of why I wanted to become a guide in the first place... to enable those experiences. I believe the Tour Your Own City model will therefore remain viable moving forward, and GANYC will continue to showcase the fun & diverse roster of offerings our guides have created.

We urge all city and tourism officials to contact GANYC about coordinating efforts for next year. GANYC intends to lead on this recovery, and we are happy to work with anyone else who is too.