NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City tourism officials are ramping up efforts to get people from around the world back to the Big Apple.
On Wednesday, the mayor announced plans for a new global marketing effort.READ MORE: Some Health Care Workers Still Defiant As New York State Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect
Taking in Times Square was just part of a once-in-a-lifetime trip for Miguel Angel and his mom, Deborah, from Detroit.
“It’s one of my dreams to come to New York,” Miguel Angel said.
Visitors like them are exactly who Mayor Bill de Blasio and city tourism officials are hoping to entice.
The mayor has announced $30 million in funding for a new global marketing campaign to launch in June to ramp up tourism, an industry left reeling during the pandemic.
“We need to let people know we’re open for business. It’s safe. Come here, join this amazing moment,” de Blasio said.
Pre-COVID, in 2019, the city saw some 66 million tourists. In 2020, that number plunged to 22 million.READ MORE: New York City's Vaccine Mandate Could Impact Nets Season, As Some Players Still Haven't Gotten Shot
Officials say 400,000 jobs in the city are tied to the industry.
“We’re gonna do all we can to accelerate tourism’s recovery,” said Fred Dixon, president of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization.
They are getting the message out, producing videos to let people know the city is “reawakening.”
Watch Mayor De Blasio’s Daily COVID Briefing —
In Wednesday’s virtual presentation, they listed numerous events and openings happening over the next several months, including the reopening of the iconic Tavern on the Green and the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, to name just a few.
Mario Messina, with the 29th Street Neighborhood Association in Midtown, is hopeful tourism will return but says the city needs to curb the spike in crime.
“I believe safety is priority number one,” he told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “By reducing the number of shelters again, the crime will be reduced.”MORE NEWS: Manhunt Underway After Suspect Escapes Custody At Bellevue Hospital
City tourism officials project it’ll take about two years to get back to pre-pandemic tourism levels here. They say it starts with locals inviting out-of-town friends and family to visit.