After the United States lifted its 20-month Covid travel ban, New York is greeting visitors with open arms, but it will likely be several years before the number of visitors to the Big Apple returns to pre-pandemic levels. Since the United States relaxed its prohibition on “non-essential” travel on November 8, the economic and cultural capital of Manhattan has already become busier, with Europeans among the first to return.
Eglantine Lasserre, a 40-year-old Bordeaux resident, was on the first flight from France to New York City on Monday.”New York has always been a dream of mine, so when I heard about the reopening of the borders I jumped at the opportunity,” she told AFP beneath the giant electronic billboards of Times Square.
Alexis Maynier, 33, and his wife Camille have also opted to visit New York for the first time this week. They liked the freedom of rambling about Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Central Park on a piercing blue-sky autumn day.”We were under a lot of limits for about two years, and now we want to get back to more normal activities,” Maynier added, alluding to France’s pandemic restrictions. “We want to enjoy ourselves and not be too concerned about these issues,” he added.
Foreign tourists from around 30 countries, including those in the European Schengen region, the United Kingdom, China, India, and Russia, were affected by the ban, which was originally enforced by ex-president Donald Trump in March 2020. cVisitors can now fly to the United States if they are completely vaccinated, marking a watershed milestone in New York’s economic recovery from the pandemic. In 2019, the city had around 67 million visitors. According to Chris Heywood, executive vice president of NYC & Company, the city’s tourism board, they brought in $70 billion and over 400,000 employment.
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