The COVID-driven collapse of New York City's tourism industry wiped out 89,000 jobs and about $60 billion worth of economic contributions, which could take years to recover, a stark new report from the state comptroller found.
While it's not news to anyone that people stopped visiting the city during the pandemic, the report paints the most grim picture yet of just how bad it really was.
The comptroller's office said the industry's economic impact was just over $20 billion in 2020, versus $80 billion-plus in 2019, as roughly two-thirds of the city's tourists disappeared.
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Employment in the industry fell by almost a third, costing those 89,000 jobs -- many of them held by younger, lower-wage workers, immigrants and those without college degrees.
And for those arguing that New York City is already "back," the comptroller's office had a pessimistic forecast for when the industry would rebound.
"Visitors and their spending are not projected to reach pre-pandemic levels before 2025. Employment is unlikely to rebound fully before visitor spending," the report said.
The comptroller's office said the city needed to move past vaccinations and safety measures and formulate a promotional plan to encourage tourists, including business travelers, to come back in earnest.
Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $30 million campaign, the city's largest ever, to promote tourism and draw visitors back.