Industry Update
External Article19 November 2021

NYC Hotels Brace For Slow Recovery Despite Rebound In Foreign Tourism

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After 20 months without a single guest in its more than 1,000 rooms, the Hyatt Grand Central in Midtown Manhattan is now sold out on weekends through the end of the year.


The hotel was one of roughly 200 citywide that suspended operations at the start of the pandemic. Now, the reopening of U.S. borders to vaccinated foreign tourists is breathing life back into the hospitality industry, but a full recovery could take years. Some of the most lucrative travel markets have not yet returned such as tourists from China.

"As the restrictions on foreign travel lifted, business has picked back up," said Joe Gaeta, director of sales and marketing at Hyatt’s Manhattan properties.

While hotels continue to reopen and return to business, more than 100 in the city will remain closed for good. New hotel construction has offset these losses, but a deficit of thousands of rooms won't be available to travelers, resulting in booking shortages as demand increases. The state comptroller reported in April that 37,000 rooms closed citywide after the pandemic’s first wave – about one-third of the boroughs’ inventory.

For the hospitality industry, the return of international visitors is vital to its survival. The city’s official tourism and marketing organization, NYC & Company, said the pace of recovery is led by these leisure travelers.

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