Influx of International Visitors Highlights Tourism’s Steady Recovery in Lower Manhattan

Influx of International Visitors Highlights Tourism’s Steady Recovery in Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan witnessed several key tourism indicators return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to a survey conducted by Audience Research & Analysis (ARA) for the Alliance between May and November 2022.  

ARA showed the strongest area of tourism growth was the sharp increase of international visitors. Among all tourists, the proportion of international visitors nearly doubled to 55 percent from 28 percent in 2021, just short of the 62 percent figure it reached before the pandemic in 2019. Including all international visitors, 47 percent were visiting New York City for the first time, up from 42 percent in 2021 and 34 percent in 2020. 

The primary feeder markets of Germany, France and the UK accounted for over 40 percent of international travelers in 2022, underlining the fact that plane travel to NYC has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Alternatively, the Asian tourism market continues to lag behind its 2019 numbers due in large part to ongoing travel restrictions and geopolitical issues, making up just 4 percent of group tours. 

The survey also showed that sightseeing continued to be the top reason for travelers to visit Lower Manhattan, with Westfield World Trade Center (aka the Oculus) and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as the district’s most popular attractions. However, both dining and the arts and culture make up a significantly larger market share for visiting the district than they did before the pandemic. In particular, the amount of visitors drawn to Lower Manhattan primarily for its arts and culture has doubled since 2019, rising to 12 percent. 

“While more visitors may mean increasing competition to snag a table at your favorite downtown restaurant, rebounding tourism is great news for our restaurants, hotels, small businesses and the thousands who work in our hospitality industries,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

Despite the gains in visitors and statistical improvements across many sectors of the tourism industry, the amount of unique visitors to Lower Manhattan still lags 29 percent behind the historic high reached in 2019 when 17.1 million visited the district.
For more information, read the Lower Manhattan Tourism Snapshot.