Momentum is beginning to return to the New York hospitality market according to Fred Dixon, chief executive of NYC & Company.
Speaking at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, he explained: “It has been an incredibly challenging year for us all, and for urban destinations in particular.
“Our strength, density, that energy, became a liability.
“But we have learned to live with it, to manage it.
“The past four-to-five weeks we have seen demand begin to rebuild, led by leisure travel – we are now above 50 per cent occupancy among contemporary inventory – optimism is growing every day.”
Dixon, however, explained around a third of hotel rooms in New York remain closed.
The city went into the pandemic with around 124,000 hotel rooms, with 88,000 currently in operation.
Authorities expect the figure to rebound to around 118,000 by the end of this year – meaning the permanent loss of around 6,000 rooms due to Covid-19.
Dixon added: “We have discovered that we have amazing outdoor spaces that we have underutilised in New York, and we have taken back many of our streets for pedestrians.
“We are building a café culture, bringing an energy we have not seen for a long-time.”
NYC & Company earlier unveiled plans for $30 million advertising campaign, to debut in June, designed to promote the reopening of the city.
New York’s official destination marketing organisation predicts 36.4 million people will visit the city this year, recovering more than 50 per cent of the record 66.6 million visitors that came in 2019.
Dixon concluded: “Travel is going to be a coiled spring; it is going to rebound quickly.
“We need to communicate clearly and emit positivity – people are looking for permission to travel and they are ready to go.”
The highly-anticipated WTTC Global Summit, organised in partnership with the government of Quintana Roo, is being held in Cancun until April 27th.
The showcase seeks to position itself as the leading tourism event in the calendar, where the highest-level industry leaders meet with key government representatives to act on the biggest issues across the international agenda.
This year, the summit will be exploring the challenges ahead and providing a platform for the recovery of the sector.
Find out more on the official website.