Tourists are finally starting to take a bite of the Big Apple again.
After a year-long COVID-19 lockdown turned the city into a virtual ghost town, a steady stream of visitors is once again checking into hotels, gaping up at skyscrapers and asking New Yorkers which way Fifth Avenue is, hospitality industry insiders said.
“I’ve always wanted to come here,” said Sarah Haskins of Dallas, TX as she posed for a street portrait in Times Square with her new husband Harold on Friday.
They were spending their honeymoon in the Big Apple “just to see something different.”
“The pandemic has been going on for a while now. We’re kind of used to it. We know the precautions to take,” Haskins said. “The pandemic is the same no matter where you go.”
Hotel occupancy in the Big Apple hit 47 percent for the week of Mar. 7 to Mar. 13 – the highest weekly average for Gotham since late June, according to STR, a data firm that tracks the hospitality industry.
Last Saturday night, that figure jumped to 61.5 percent, a significant rise from the January figures of 38 percent, but still well under pre-pandemic figures of 87 percent, STR said.
More pedestrians have also started to flood into Times Square, according to Tom Harris, the acting president and chief operating officer at the Times Square Alliance.
“Over the last week we’ve noticed an uptick,” said Harris.
Raul Fernandez of Puerto Rico was among those tourists in Times Square Friday.
+INFO: New York Post