Explica.co: The Big Apple reinvents its tourism offer and opens the door to thousands of jobs for Hispanic families

May 10, 2021


The lights of the entertainment world and the normalization of many activities in the Big Apple already have a start date: May 19, after more than a year of pandemic blackout. With this announcement, it is also “Open the curtain” of the recovery of at least 90,000 jobs, in addition to the ventures and dreams of thousands of Hispanic families that depend on tourism.


In the coming summer New York City aims to resume your tourist offer, with an eye on visitors from other states, reopening of hotels and 100% restaurant capacity, with outdoor offer. That is good news for the hospitality industry, where one in five employees is of Latino origin.


The Puerto Rican Lucía Meléndez, 45 years old, who worked in a hotel in the Hilton chain in Times Square He already has seven months collecting unemployment insurance. This week, the islander was called to rejoin her position as room supervisor, which means the return of some of the most desirable benefits of this job market: tips.


“Although my colleagues who have already started working told me that there is little movement, it is assumed that with the reopening that they announced, more people will start to come. Here you make money (money) is with the tips (tip). Hopefully the tourists will return, ”said Lucía.


More of 25,000 hotel employees, based on calculations by the New York City Hotel Association, they have been out of work for over 10 months, making this industry one of the hardest hit in the Big Apple.


Researchers from City University of New York (CUNY) found, as a result of a survey, that the 41% of Hispanics They said that they, or someone else in their household, had lost their job in restaurants or hotels in recent years.


Waiting for the national visitor

The City announced the largest tourism campaign in its history, which will receive an injection of $ 30 million and it will be directed mainly to the national visitor.


Fred Dixon, CEO of the ‘NYC & Company’, assured that they are betting on a “gradual but certain” economic recovery that is looming as vaccinations against COVID-19 progress, since the half of the country have received at least one dose.


The tourist campaign will seek to promote the idea of ​​the recovery of a city that last spring was the global epicenter of the pandemic. And now it tries to revive with one of its essential economic pillars.


“If we promote millions of people to come safely in the rest of the year, that automatically translates into an injection of resources for those who work in this industry, they will build hotels and restaurants,” said a spokesman for the City’s tourist agency.


The Big Apple in 2019 recorded a record of 66., 6 million visitors and this 2021 projects to attract more than half of that number, 36.4 million, focusing on tourists from the country, due to the series of entry restrictions for international visitors.


Optimism with empty pockets

The reactivation is not only longed for by thousands of formal, direct and indirect workers from hotel corporations, tour services, theaters and gastronomic ventures, but also those who survive on the streets. with another entertainment offer.


The Argentine ‘Batman’ of Times Square, who has witnessed the rise and fall of visitors at the so-called ‘Crossroads of the World’, is “hopeful and optimistic”.


“Now with so many people being vaccinated all over the country and right here, I am sure that the city will rise up with everyone’s effort. Slowly we have seen more people. Especially on the weekends. Those of us who work entertaining people know that in this new stage, now we have to do better“, Highlighted one of the” characters “that encourages visitors in one of the most visible and visited places in the world.


On the main streets and avenues of the heart of Manhattan, dozens of empty theaters, restaurants and businesses, in addition to a sequence of hotels await visitors, as well as “Luisa”, a Peruvian that like dozens of mothers of families, she makes a living representing the iconic dolls and ‘superheroes’ of Times Square, in exchange for tips for a photo.


“This has been horrible. These months there were days when only we were here. Only workers walked from the little that was open. It was difficult to imagine New York without a tourist on its streets. Now we think there is hope with the vaccines, with the reopening “, bet the immigrant.


According to the Times Square Alliance, the pedestrian count on one of New York’s most iconic thoroughfares has risen to a maximum of approximately 150,000 people per day over the past weekend of April 2-4, compared to an average of under 100,000 visitors per day since September 2020.


A vendor of flannels and hats, with the iconic logo ‘I Love NY’, that for seven years has offered its products in the surroundings of the Seventh avenue and Broadway, says that only on Saturdays and Sundays of the last month has “sell something”. After months of returning home with the empty pockets.


“From a month to here tourists come from nearby states. Let’s see what happens now. We have no choice but to continue betting on New York. It became clear with this crisis that without visitors the economy here dies. Tourism is our engine, ”said the street vendor.


Hotels not available

The recovery of one of the main engines of the city of skyscrapers this spring, was accompanied by the flexibilization of New York State travel restrictions, as domestic travelers no longer have to quarantine when they enter New York from another state or territory of the United States.


And the “slump ”in prices of airline tickets is also attracting visitors.


“I paid only $ 60 from Miami on a special offer. I had always dreamed of coming, but a round trip ‘ticket’ was very expensive in this hottest season, “said the Costa Rican who was visiting the city last weekend.


Although much more than 30 hotels in the city have definitively closed their doors, because they could not bear the economic drought imposed by COVID-19, hotel occupancy jumped from 5% to 50.4% earlier this spring, according to recent data shared by the publication ‘Travel Weekly’.


“There are 226 hotels that are closed, either temporarily or permanently. It is presumed that more than 30 lodgings will not return and 139 hotels are now shelters for the homeless ”, he reacted Vijay Dandapani, president of the New York City Hotel Association.


May 19: the starting point

The city ​​restaurants They will be able to reopen their full dining rooms for the first time since March 2020, provided they can maintain six feet of space between tables. On May 17, the curfew will end for the cookouts and May 31st for indoor meals. Entertainment centers with policies of access to fully vaccinated people do not have to comply with the six foot rule.

Venues can reserve areas or admissions for people fully vaccinated.

It will also allow shops, gyms, beauty salons, offices and “family entertainment businesses” reach 100 percent capacity. Broadway theaters will restart their productions on September 14 at 100% capacity The Subway will resume 24-hour service, coinciding with the end of the curfew for bars and restaurants whose workforce had few options to get home between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning.


The numbers of the debacle

  • 90,000 jobs were lost in the tourism industry in New York City due to the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
  • 97,000 workers depend directly and indirectly on Broadway musical productions
  • 7% was the average of hotel occupancy in hotels in the Big Apple last summer, when the economic reactivation phase began.
  • 88% was the average rate occupancy at these NYC accommodations prior to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • $3 billion dollars a year in taxes for the City, and about $ 450 million for the State generated by the NYC hospitality industry before the public health crisis.