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Citizens of 100 countries that attended a gathering of world leaders this fall in Manhattan for a United Nations General Assembly meeting can now travel to the U.S., as long as they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a White House official. Many are hopeful this policy change will rev up NYC’s tourism sector and have a positive effect on a wide variety of businesses.

Just one-fifth of the city’s tourists come from abroad in a typical year, but they reportedly outspend their domestic counterparts on arts and entertainment, hotels, transportation and restaurants, accounting for half of all spending and room nights, says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s tourism agency.

International visitors often stay longer and spend more during stays – seeing as many as five Broadway shows, according to Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. Hotel owners are also pleased by the easing of restrictions, said Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City. Even before the Sept. announcement, Airbnb said NYC was its top booked destination for the fall.

For months, U.S. borders have been open to travelers from Latin America and the Caribbean, and Americans have been permitted to travel to several European countries. In the meantime, New Yorkers and regional visitors have been carrying the city’s tourism industry. Certain industry conferences that attract global audiences could only return once borders were open, said Alan Steel, president and CEO of the Javits Center. The conferences, in turn, could attract more business travel – an important economic driver for restaurants.

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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