City tourism industry begins to bounce back

Times Square foot traffic is inching up back to pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the Times Square Alliance, the nonprofit coalition of business owners and stakeholders that promotes the area and runs events like the New Year’s Eve celebration.

During the week ending on March 20, average pedestrian totals reached 300,000 a day and weekend totals hit 330,000 a day. Those numbers are down 13% and 6%, respectively, from the same period in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

“We want to get people out and about in the city. Seeing those numbers tick up is such positive news for our city,” said Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications for NYC & Company, the city’s marketing nonprofit.

Heywood joined Shannan Ferry and Rocco Vertuccio Saturday to discuss the return of Broadway’s impact, hotel occupancy, the importance of international visitors, and a new push to promote local businesses across the city.

“We are very bullish about the future for tourism. It’s been a long two years,” Heywood said. “There’s extraordinary pent up demand. And we are actually fishing where the fish are to get people to come back and we’re hoping for a very strong summer.”

“It’s going to be a roaring 2022,” Heywood added.