The city will launch a $30 million tourism campaign in June to bring visitors back, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced. He made the commitment to “NYC Reawakens” this morning at a press conference, alongside Fred Dixon, the boss of NYC & Company and Chef Daniel Boulud.

Mayor de Blasio and Chef Boulud at this morning’s press conference.

“It’s critical we deliver the message that New York City is open and welcoming visitors once again,” said Dixon.

He added “the city and all five boroughs are open, vibrant, and ready to safely welcome back visitors and business events.”

The campaign will be backed by ten times the $3m annual advertising budget NYC & Co spent pre-pandemic, with the money coming from federal stimulus payments to New York.

“We want to bring tourism back. Hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on tourism. Think about the taxi driver who benefits from tourism. Think about the folks who work in our hotels. Think about the restaurant workers. Think about everyone in the cultural community, Broadway and the museums. We want them all to thrive. It’s not going to happen overnight. We know that it will happen,” said the Mayor.

In recent weeks tourism has been on the increase, with reports that hotel occupancy had risen to over 50% — the highest figure since the start of the pandemic, when hotels were typically more than 85% full.

New York gift stores are among those businesses hoping for a return of tourism. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

Although the city is coming back to life, the lag of Broadway theaters reopening and lack of conference bookings at the Javits will restrict tourist growth. This year, NYC & Co predicts 36.4 million people will visit New York City, recovering more than 50 percent of the record 66.6 million visitors that came in 2019. Dixon revealed initial campaigns would be directed at domestic tourists — who typically make up 80% of the city’s visitors.

He urged New Yorkers to take part in a campaign to invite friends and family to visit by using a special page on their website

Michelin-starred chef Boulud will open Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt next month. He said: “Every neighborhood in New York City will benefit from the tourists. It does not matter if you make the best pizza, the best sandwich, or the best salad — every little or big restaurant will definitely have to see tourism come back to survive.”

The city is gradually seeing in-person events return. The Frieze Art Fair will be held at The Shed in Hudson Yard in early May and the Tribeca Film Festival returns in June.

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