WCBS880: Hotel industry optimistic as NY lifts mandatory quarantine for domestic travelers

By Steve Burns

April 1, 2021

 

Domestic travelers coming into New York are no longer required to quarantine and that has the city’s hotel industry feeling optimistic.

 

Revenue for New York City hotels has taken a nosedive, from $11 billion in 2019 to $1.5 billion in 2020.

 

“We lost 85% of our business,” said Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO of Hotel Association of New York City.

 

He is hoping the tide might soon be turning.

 

“The lifting of quarantine is a really good thing,” Dandapani said. “It shows momentum.”

 

First the rule was a two-week quarantine before it was reduced to a three-day quarantine with a negative test. Now, as of Thursday, domestic travelers coming into New York don’t have to quarantine at all.

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio had criticized the move from Gov. Andrew Cuomo as reckless.

 

While no longer mandatory, the state’s Department of Health still recommends those coming into New York from another state or U.S. territory to quarantine as a precaution.

 

A mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers and all travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.

 

If the tourism industry starts showing signs of life again, Dandapani said hotels are ready.

 

“Many have talked about opening over the next two to three months,” Dandapani said, noting that many more are looking at next year. “The industry welcomes tourism, obviously it’s a huge part of our business in terms of volume, but in terms of revenue it isn’t that big a part of business.”

 

Still domestic travel alone is not enough to get the industry back to where it was.

 

Dandapani notes most of their revenue comes from international and business travel, both of which will take longer to bounce back.

 

“As soon as those start to come back that’s when you look at a real revival,” he said. “We don’t expect the industry to go back to where it was in 2019 anytime before 2025, it could even be 2026.”