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“Beginning of Comeback” in Five US Cities

With more Covid-19 vaccinations and more businesses reopening across the country, Easter weekend may be a turning point for the struggling tourism industry, with tourism reviving in some cities. There is.

Chip Rogers, President and Chief Operating Officer American Hotel & Lodge AssociationA trade association in the hospitality industry, until last weekend, places like Florida and Texas were doing well, with “a city prospering at large conferences and conventions like Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas,” and a recovery “very much.” He said it had been “localized”. I’m having a hard time recovering.

“We see very good pickups on weekend dates, but now it’s been extended. Traditionally it was Friday to Sunday, but now it’s Thursday to Monday,” he said, referring to the increase in leisure travel. I said.But lack of A business trip means that weekday bookings continue to be delayed. Still, he added, there is a reason for “cautious optimism.”

However, health experts warn that travelers should be careful when visiting some states, even those who are fully vaccinated. In some popular destinations, such as Florida, the number of cases that surged during the spring break when crowds of drinkers increased. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends that people wear masks, stay socially distant, and wash their hands frequently, even if some local governments relax or lift these rules.

Here’s what happened in five major US cities over the weekend and what that means for the future of the tourism industry.

The city of New York came to life last weekend as many businesses and industries that had been closed since the outbreak of the pandemic reopened with reduced capacity, including sports and concert venues, some hotels and sightseeing cruises. Chris Heywood, executive vice president of communications for NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization, said these reopenings have benefited the tourism industry, along with a warm climate and increased vaccination coverage.

“It’s like surround sound with a lot of positive news,” Heywood said.

Perhaps the city’s premier pioneer of tourism, Times Square has recorded the highest number of pedestrians to date this year, about about per day, according to the Times Square Alliance, which tracks activity in the region. There were 150,000 people. That’s a 394% increase from the same weekend last year, but it’s still far from the pre-pandemic figure. An average of about 364,000 people visited the area each day on the same weekend of 2019, according to an Alliance spokesman.

Tom Harris, Deputy President of the Alliance, said: “There is still a way to go until Broadway reopens. This will greatly increase tourism in the city and Times Square, but these small steps will allow more people to experience it safely. What Times Square offers over the years. “

Due to the mild climate and the relatively loose Covid-19 regulations, many tourists visit Miami and its surrounding areas.As a result, owning Greg Gary said Mira MiamiMany people traveled from outside the state for long-term stays at restaurants in Miami Beach. “It has enabled businesses to reach customers that we don’t have,” he said, especially from locations such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

This influx can be problematic during spring break when police officers in riot control use pepperballs to enforce curfew and disperse people who disregard social distance and mask regulations. Turned out.

Susie Sponder, a spokeswoman for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said on the weekend of March 28-April 3, Miami “recorded the highest occupancy rate since the start of the pandemic, with most hotels over 75%. Reported the utilization rate of. ” .. This is a 6.6% decrease from the same weekend in 2019.

Sponder added that average weekend room rates are up 25% from 2019 to $ 282.29. Rogers of the American Hotel & Lodges Association also said that while revenues are still declining overall, they are the best indicator. The recovery of the industry, noting that Miami’s strong numbers are an exception, not a rule.

In the tourism industry, “many people haven’t worked yet,” he said. “We hire the most people because it’s a large urban hotel in the city center. It’s not working right now. Most of the unemployment is happening here.”

According to the Los Angeles Tourism Convention Commission, hotel occupancy rates have been steadily increasing almost weekly since the beginning of the year in Los Angeles.

“Our weekend has been more than 70% occupied in the last two weeks,” wrote Jamie Simpson, vice president of global communications on the board, in an email Monday. The numbers were stable throughout the Easter weekend, with an average share of 70.4 percent. This is the highest since March last year before the pandemic began.

Simpson said the board forecasts a 35% surge in visitors in 2021 through 2020, but does not expect it to reach 2019 levels by 2024.

Still, as more companies reopen, the board is beginning to market to domestic visitors. The city’s museums, theme parks and outdoor live events have resumed. (Disneyland in nearby Anaheim will reopen at the end of April.)

“This year was an incredibly tough year for the restaurant industry, but LA has recently opened a hot new restaurant bubble,” Simpson said, as well as some new hotels.

In Las Vegas, there have been numerous reopenings, including the reopening of pool parties at many hotels.

“It’s not easy to be in Las Vegas and go to the pool,” said Las Vegas Chief Operating Officer Derek Stevens. Circa Resort & Casino.. “It’s like trying to book a dinner on New Year’s Eve. Not the day before.” The pool spots at his facility, including the other two hotels, are for capacity restrictions and social distance. Booked a month in advance, indicating that there is demand for leisure travel. Hotels and other venues in the city are limited to 50% of the capacity.

The Easter weekend is historically the second latest weekend in the city, but this year was different due to the annual NCAA basketball tournament March Madness. “Everything was packed into a limited capacity level,” he said. “All venues were full by 10am because of the final four on Saturday. I think it was the case throughout Las Vegas.”

Stevens added that there are signs that the Las Vegas tourism industry has been recovering since the Super Bowl in February, and that his three hotels have been sold out every weekend since then. “I haven’t booked as fast as the last three months. This is the strongest booking I’ve ever had,” he said.

However, due to the lack of meetings and conventions, the decline continues on weekdays. “What we’re seeing is a huge increase in demand for leisure travel, which will take place throughout the summer, but doesn’t necessarily mean that business trips will follow,” he says. I did.

New Orleans boosted Spring Break, Passover and Easter, but “there is still a long way to go before the $ 10 billion hospitality industry fully recovers,” said Kelly Schultz, Senior Vice President of Communications, New Orleans. Says. the company.

According to Schultz, hotel occupancy rates are inconsistent, ranging from 20% to 49% between January and March, and in some cases up to 90% on major French quarter weekends.

Hotel occupancy was just over 68% last weekend, according to STR, a global hospitality data and analytics company.

“New Orleans is one of the lowest Covid positive rates in Louisiana and one of the highest vaccination rates,” Schulz said. She wants this, along with “relaxation of restrictions, including the resurrection of live music, is another sign that a bright day will come.”

People also seem to be planning future trips, with 60 percent of the people visiting NewOrleans.com I am planning a trip within the next 3 months. “We are optimistic about the convention and festival schedule for the fourth quarter of 2021,” Schultz said.

Leisure travel during the summer is expected to lift the industry, but Rogers said travel needs to recover to bring the industry back to 2019 levels.

“We’re optimistic, but what we’re afraid and worried about is what happens after Labor Day after all this leisure trip is over,” he said. “A business trip is absolutely necessary for us to survive,” he said.

“Beginning of Comeback” in Five US Cities

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