As tourism brightens, Times Square hopes to regain luster | National News

While domestic travel accounted for 80% of visitors, foreign tourists account for about half of the city’s tourism spending and typically represent half of all hotel bookings.

Harris of the Times Square Alliance said the district is already rebounding. Since May, he said, the number of pedestrians counted in some places has grown from 150,000 per day to as many as 250,000 — still far below the roughly 365,000 people who tramped through the grid of streets before the pandemic.

“Between the return of Broadway, the return of international tourists,” Harris said, “we really expect to be at those pre-pandemic numbers sooner than most people predict.”

Those returning visitors included people like Marina Galan, who soaked in Times Square from the bleachers under a cascade of lights. She and her friends flew to New York from Madrid on the first day U.S. borders opened to vaccinated tourists.

“When you come back to New York, this is what you want to see,” she said. “Everything is kind of back to normal.”

Her friend Pablo Leon said he was eager to return. The group took a risk last March when they bought tickets for the Broadway musical Hadestown, despite being uncertain about when they’d be allowed to travel to the United States.

“That was the true gamble because we bought the tickets for tonight, without any knowledge if we were going to be able to come here,” Leon said.

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