Crain’s New York Business: City leaders: How tourism will recover


September 13, 7:45 AM


Crain’s recently brought some of the city’s leaders together to talk about how hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses will recover from the pandemic. Here’s some of what they said.


“We did a huge renovation while the hotel was closed. We recommitted to the neighborhood and the city.”


—Michael Achenbaum, co-owner and president, Gansevoort Hotel Group


“There is a hunger to get out and explore that we see in leisure travel. People dream about coming to this city, and there is going to be a big hunger for getting out.”


—Irene Bar-Am, sales manager, Greater New York, United Airlines


“We need to open the borders. Other countries are open, and we can emulate what they are doing successfully. It’s a federal issue, but we should all be pushing hard for the borders to open.”


—Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO, Hotel Association of New York City


“For the hospitality industry, it’s about getting back to where we were, to socialize and get together in a normal way, and not think about the pandemic and all the uncertainty. … The restaurant hiring question is complicated. It’s a job where you work nights, weekends. You’re on your feet dealing with people. What are we doing to attract more employees? Small businesses don’t have a LinkedIn. We need a better job-match operation.”


—Andrew Rigie, executive director, New York City Hospitality Alliance


“We lost very few employees. Workers in the performing arts are coming back to New York City. It’s not like any other normal business. People in it have to work here—their souls are in it. … The lag in tourism has been because visitors don’t think entertainment is open. Tourists have said that when shows open they will come to New York, but until then they will travel elsewhere.”


—Charlotte St. Martin, president, Broadway League


“New York is a leader in what is being done in terms of Covid prevention at conventions and meetings. I’d like to see forethought and communication about the plans from the government. That would help my side of the business.”


—Alan Steel, president and CEO, Javits Convention Center


“We should rededicate street space in New York City to new uses. I think it’s time to stop the tour bus traffic. I’d like to put that on the list of things to get rid of.”


—Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City